Parents are being urged to keep up to date with their children’s vaccinations during the current coronavirus pandemic.
Recent data from the GP record system in Hackney shows that there has been a decrease of 37.6% in immunisation consultations by City and Hackney practices, compared to this time last year (during March and April). Since remarkably fewer infant vaccinations were given, this poses a significant risk to children’s health, as vaccination protects from a number of diseases that cannot be prevented by social distancing, some of which are potentially life threatening.
Local health professionals want to remind parents that it is vitally important that parents and carers contact their GP as soon as possible to book in and attend appointments for baby health checks and immunizations.
To make it easier for parents and carers of new babies during the pandemic, babies can now be registered with the family GP without a birth certificate over the phone.
The NHS is also working to address concerns parents may have around coronavirus, with GP surgeries ensuring that those with coronavirus symptoms are in a separate area of the practice to those there for routine appointments.
Dr Suki Francis, a local GP and Clinical Lead for Children and Young People at City & Hackney Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We know that there is a drop in the number of children getting vaccinated and we are really worried that this could lead to a resurgence of these preventable diseases which can be distressing and sometimes have catastrophic consequences for children.
We understand parents are worried about bringing their babies into surgeries, but we want to reassure them that all GP surgeries in City & Hackney are open, safe and available for all of our patients. We are doing telephone consultations for everyone initially before bringing patients in and taking all the infection control measures to ensure that staff and patients are safe.
Your GP, nurse and health visitor want to hear from you if you have any concerns or worries so please contact them and do not delay getting help and getting your child vaccinated.”
As well as causing harm to children, missing vaccinations can lead to disease outbreaks which can affect vulnerable people in the community and put additional strain on the NHS which is already under pressure due to coronavirus.
Parents and carers need to contact their GP as soon as possible to book in and attend appointments for baby health checks and immunizations.
Parents wanting more information about childhood vaccinations can go to the NHS website.
You can also now register for a digital Red-book online for easy access to your baby’s details including dates for vaccinations. Visit the eRedbook registration page.