People urged to attend routine immunisations

North West immunisation leads are urging people in the region to continue to attend routine vaccination appointments during the coronavirus pandemic.

While preventing the spread of Covid-19 is a public health priority, it is still vital that members of the public go to scheduled vaccination appointments to stop outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases and to protect vulnerable groups including children, babies and pregnant women.

Dianne Draper, screening and immunisation lead for NHS England and NHS Improvement in Lancashire and South Cumbria and Cheshire and Merseyside, said that while the NHS is taking measures to protect people from coronavirus, local services are working hard to ensure that people including babies, children and pregnant women, still receive their routine vaccinations.

She added: “Vaccines are an absolutely essential building block of good health. GP practices are making sure it is safe for patients to attend and it is vital that people don’t cancel their immunisation appointments during the pandemic and attend them as normal.”

When attending appointments, people should follow government social distancing guidance.

If a patient or a member of their household develops coronavirus symptoms before attending their appointment, they should follow government guidance and rearrange their appointment.

Christine Khiroya, nurse consultant with responsibility for screening and immunisation, Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, said that as long as those attending appointments, including parents of babies or children, do not have symptoms or are not self-isolating because someone in the household is displaying symptoms, they should continue to attend due immunisation appointments.

She added: “During this time, it is important to maintain the best possible vaccine uptake to prevent a resurgence of serious and sometimes life-threatening diseases such as pneumonia, meningitis and measles.”

If individuals or members of a household need advice from a GP practice about symptoms not related to coronavirus, they should contact the practice online or by phone to be assessed.

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