HEALTH chiefs are warning that delaying childhood immunisations, during the Covid-19 pandemic, could lead to outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases.
Public health experts, and GPs, across County Durham are urging parents and carers to continue to vaccinate their children to prevent against deadly and highly contagious childhood diseases including measles and whooping cough.
Dr Stewart Findlay, chief officer of NHS County Durham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “While preventing the spread of Covid-19 and caring for those infected is a priority, we need parents and carers to ensure that they continue to get their children immunised to protect them against other diseases that can be extremely serious in a young child.
“Vaccines save lives and ensuring children are properly immunised is one of the most important things a parent can do.
“Delaying immunisations, even for a short period, could result in increased numbers of children exposed to infection and raise the possibility of a deadly outbreak of vaccine-preventable diseases.”
Public Health officials are advising that as long as a child, everyone in the household, and the one parent or carer bringing the child to the appointment are well, and not showing signs of coronavirus, then it’s safe to attend GP practices for planned routine vaccinations.
All GP surgeries have procedures in place to separate potentially infected and non-infected parents and children.
They will ensure social distancing is implemented, so parents can be sure that it is safer to take their child to the surgery for immunisation than to wait and to put them at risk of childhood diseases including measles, mumps, whooping cough, meningitis and polio.
Durham County Council public health consultant Chris Allan added: “Routine immunisation continues to be the very best way of protecting children against serious diseases.
“Even during these unprecedented times, where the country is dealing with Covid-19, we still need parents and carers to ensure their children are immunised
“Having your child vaccinated helps guard them against a host of serious diseases and ensures they get the best protection possible.”