Kent Community Health Trust trial drive-thru HPV injections at St George's School in Broadstairs

School immunisation teams have been trialling drive-thru jabs in Kent to ensure students are given routine vaccinations despite schools being shut.

With classrooms closed to the majority of pupils, Kent Community Heath NHS Foundation Trust is trying to find other ways to ensure children and teens continue to receive routine immunisations.

Students stayed in their cars and immunisation nurses delivered vaccines
Students stayed in their cars and immunisation nurses delivered vaccines

In the case of the annual flu spray for younger pupils, community clinics have been set up for pupils who missed their school's initial visit either due to isolation or closure.

But a new drive-thru experience has been trialled for students due the HPV jab, which protects against cancers caused by the human papilloma virus.

The immunisation is offered to boys and girls aged 12 and 13 in Year 8 of secondary school.

A pilot project at St George's Secondary School in Broadstairs has seen more than 180 youngsters be given the injection in a new covid-secure way.

Taking a brief break from home learning parents and carers drove their children into the school's grounds using a one-way system where they were directed into waiting areas with an immunisation nurse who went through some safety questions and gave the vaccine whilst everyone remained in their car.

Around 50 pupils were seen every hour
Around 50 pupils were seen every hour

Around 50 students were seen every hour, say organisers, with the new initiative being hailed a success after running smoothly and efficiently in its debut.

Claire Collard, Lead Immunisation Nurse for East Kent, said: “We are so pleased this new system has worked so successfully. Despite the cold weather, I am so proud of how my team has met this challenge and been able to vaccinate these young people against HPV as if they were in school in normal circumstances.”

Following the pilot session at St George’s, the county-wide Immunisation Service is now looking at how the drive-through model can now be rolled out across its patch during the school closures which have been caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

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