Coronavirus Kent: NHS urges parents to attend children's routine immunisation appointments to prevent outbreaks of other diseases
Parents are being urged to attend their children's immunisation appointments so that the county avoids 'an increase in preventable diseases'.
And whilst the NHS continues to help people manage illness linked to the pandemic, it is encouraging families not to ignore appointments for jabs which can stop 'killer diseases' such as measles and mumps and other life-threatening infections such as meningitis, diptheria and whooping cough.
Dr Navin Kumta, GP and chair of NHS Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said all staff were working hard to ensure medical settings were safe places for parents to bring their offspring.
He said: “It’s very important that we avoid an increase in preventable diseases, so practices are continuing with their usual immunisation schedules.
"Getting potentially life-saving immunisations is definitely an important medical appointment that meets the guidance for leaving home. We would strongly encourage parents to attend appointments as usual.
“GP practices have changed the way they operate and staff in the surgeries are taking additional precautions to maintain a safe environment for everyone.”
The appeal comes in the same week as a significant drop in the number of youngsters attending the county's accident and emergency departments for treatment was also revealed - raising concerns parents may be putting-off seeking medical treatment because they fear coming into contact with coronavirus.
NHS England says parents can play their part in reducing pressure on health services by bringing children for injections which can help prevent any resurgence of other infections that cause harm and place added strain on the NHS.
As long as those attending appointments, including the parents of babies or children, do not have symptoms or are not self-isolating because someone in the household is displaying symptoms, all scheduled vaccinations can go ahead as normal.
Dr Nikita Kanani, NHS England medical director for primary care, said: “While the NHS is taking unprecedented measures to protect people from coronavirus, local services are working hard to ensure that people including babies, children and pregnant women still receive their routine vaccinations - they provide essential protection against potentially life-threatening diseases.”
Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunisations at Public Health England, added: “The national immunisation programme remains in place to protect the nation’s health and no one should be in any doubt of the devastating impact of diseases such as measles, meningitis and pneumonia."
A full list of vaccinations and when they are available, for children and adults, is accessible through the NHS website for any parents concerned that someone in the family may have not been issued with an appointment.