4th Jul, 2020

Emergency call for child vaccinations during Covid-19

Editorial Correspondent 30th Jun, 2020 Updated: 30th Jun, 2020

HEALTH and care organisations are encouraging residents to help protect the NHS by continuing to vaccinate children despite Covid-19.

This is to avoid an increase in serious preventable diseases that could tip the balance and overwhelm our nurses and doctors, they say.

It follows a national fall in vaccination numbers since the coronavirus pandemic.

Health professionals across the region are eager to continue immunisations during this pandemic to protect residents and they want to re-assure people that they have the necessary precautions in place to minimise risk and keep women and families safe from COVID-19.

Health organisations say the spread of COVID-19 and caring for those infected is a national priority but maintaining the national immunisation programme helps successfully protect pregnant women, children, and older vulnerable adults against serious preventable diseases such as pneumococcal infections and measles.

Councillor Kamran Caan, Coventry City Council’s portfolio holder for Public Health and Sport said: “Immunisations have never been more important than during these challenging times. It is the most effective way of stopping the spread of infectious disease, saving lives and promoting good health. We need to ensure good vaccination uptake in Coventry and Warwickshire to avoid a resurgence of any vaccine-preventable diseases which could have a devastating impact on children and vulnerable groups and would put significant pressure on the overstretched NHS.

“It’s vital that everyone eligible gets vaccinated and we want to remind our communities that NHS primary care services, including A&E departments and GP practices are still ‘open for business’. Pregnant women, infants and children must not cancel or delay their vaccination appointments and have all their scheduled vaccinations during the COVID-19 crisis.

“We are continuing to work closely with our partners and taking a One Coventry approach to raising awareness of the importance of keeping up to date with immunisations across Coventry.”

Councillor Les Caborn, portfolio holder for Adult social care and health at Warwickshire County Council said:“We want all our residents to remain as safe and healthy as possible. Vaccination programmes are vital to help protect against the spread of serious preventable illnesses. Following your vaccination schedule, as advised by your doctor, midwife or health visitor, will mean that pregnant women and infants will have the correct level of protection when they need it. Precautions are in place across our health care setting to ensure the continued safety of our residents, so please don’t delay or cancel your vaccinations throughout Covid19 – attend any appointments you have been invited to.”

Coventry Sarah Raistrick, GP and Chair for NHS Coventry & Rugby Clinical Commissioning Group said: “If you are concerned that your child, of any age, has the symptoms of coronavirus – a new continuous cough or a high temperature – the loss of smell and taste, the advice is the same and you still should not delay in seeking medical advice if worried. We want to remind parents that the out of hours services and children’s A&E department at University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust are also working and parents must not delay seeking help when worried as this could put their child’s health at a risk. Serious illness, such as a severe asthma attack, pneumonia, appendicitis, meningitis or sepsis need to be picked up and dealt with early to prevent complications.”

Health and care partners say they are working closely together across Coventry and Warwickshire, as part of an agreement between council’s and CCGs to plan for improving rates of immunisation uptake to ensure those at risk are protected against infectious diseases.

As part of those measures a consultation period with parents, carers and older people, as well as professionals including GP practices and health visitors will be undertaken to find out more about the barriers to getting vaccinated.

If a pregnant woman, child or family member has COVID-19 symptoms or is self-isolating because someone in the household is displaying symptoms, they should contact their GP practice for advice and can view the vaccine schedule to check you are up to date.

Coventry: Please advise pregnant women and young families to contact their GP, midwife or health visitor if they have any concern. Alternatively, they can text a health visitor anytime on CHAT Health: 07507329114, or contact them on Facebook via @coventryhealthvisiting.

Warwickshire: Please advise pregnant women and young families to contact their GP, midwife or health visitor if they have any concern. Alternatively, they can text a health visitor anytime on CHAT Health: 07520 615293(responses within 2 hours, Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm)

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