Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust’s childhood immunisation teams – who provide services right across North Yorkshire, Teesside and County Durham – are now eager to reassure parents that it is safe to attend rescheduled appointments and ensure their children are caught up with important vaccinations.
Routine vaccination appointments for school-aged children were cancelled earlier this year as schools closed in light of coronavirus.
Now there is concern in the NHS that the public’s fear of contracting coronavirus is preventing them from accessing essential healthcare when they need it. This is a real worry for healthcare professionals, as things like missed childhood vaccinations will have serious knock-on effects in the future.
Appointments are now being offered in risk-assessed community settings to allow proper social distancing to be maintained. Clinical staff will be in appropriate PPE and appointments are being staggered to reduce the number of people on site at once.
Anyone with a child who is pre-school age and has missed a vaccination, please contact your local GP to arrange an appointment. The only time not to attend an appointment is if you or anyone in your household is displaying symptoms of coronavirus.
Lois Alderson, Clinical Lead for the North Yorkshire and City of York Childhood Immunisations Team, said: “The national immunisation programme is highly successful in reducing the incidences of serious and sometimes life-threatening diseases, and so it is vitally important we ensure a high level of vaccination uptake to prevent a resurgence of infectious diseases.
“Some families may be worried about attending appointments in the current climate, but they should rest assured that infection control procedures have been put in place to ensure that their child is vaccinated in a safe environment.”
Karen Guest-Humphries, Clinical Lead and Interim Deployment Lead for the Durham, Darlington and Teesside Childhood Immunisation Team, said: “We recognise that some children are really scared of having vaccinations and that the addition of staff wearing PPE may heighten this anxiety. I would like to reassure parents that our staff are well experienced at dealing with anxious children and will ensure that your child is put at ease to allow them to receive their vaccinations.”
One parent, who attended a childhood immunisation appointment at the start of the month, passed on her thanks to the team who provided the service: “They made us feel very safe in the current pandemic situation and put my son who is petrified of needles at total ease.”
For more information on immunisation services provided in North Yorkshire and the City of York, please visit: https://www.facebook.com/childhoodimmunisations/ and for more information on services in County Durham, Darlington and Teesside, please visit: https://www.facebook.com/childhoodimmunisationsDurhamDarlingtonandtees/.