Health chiefs are urging parents to take their children for their routine childhood immunisations at their GP surgery when they are invited to during the coronavirus emergency.

Pregnant women should also take up the offer to have the pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine.

Dr Salma Reehana, Wolverhampton GP and Clinical Chair for Wolverhampton Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “As long as patients attending for vaccination (including parents and carers) are well, are not displaying symptoms of COVID-19 or other infections and are not self isolating because they are contacts of suspected COVID-19 cases, immunisation should proceed and is encouraged.

“Despite the coronavirus pandemic, it is important that routine childhood immunisations are started and completed on time. This will help protect your child from a range of serious and sometimes life threatening infections. 

“Whilst infections such as measles and meningitis are not as common as they used to be, this is only because of high levels of vaccination. It is very important that we continue to prevent outbreaks of infectious diseases by making sure children get vaccinated.”

To prevent resurgence, infants still need protecting through vaccination. All routine childhood immunisations are offered to babies, infants and pre school children including first and second MMR dose. All doses of targeted hepatitis B vaccines for at risk infants will be offered. It’s also important that pregnant women and take up the pertussis vaccine, and that their babies start receiving protection against this, and other infections, from 8 weeks of age.  

John Denley, the City of Wolverhampton Council’s Director of Public Health, said: “While preventing the spread of coronavirus and protecting those who are most vulnerable is a public health priority, it is very important to maintain good vaccine uptake and coverage of immunisations. 

“In addition to protecting the individual, good vaccine uptake helps to prevent the spread of diseases and so protects even more people from needing support from health services.”

GP practices are safe to attend for these appointments and continue to implement the most up to date guidance on maintaining social distance in the waiting room. Decontamination of premises and equipment is being strictly followed. Practices may be adjusting appointment times to avoid waiting times with others and in some areas, they may also be working with neighbouring practices to deliver COVID-19 and non COVID-19 activity on separate sites. 

The latest information and guidance around coronavirus is available at GOV.UK and on the council’s own coronavirus pages at Coronavirus advice and information. There’s lots of advice on how people can protect themselves and their families from coronavirus from the NHS at Advice for everyone – Coronavirus (COVID-19).

The council’s Stay Safe, Be Kind campaign offers clear and simple advice about how people can help themselves, and how they can support others who may be particularly vulnerable at this time. For more information, please visit Stay Safe, Be Kind.