Coronavirus Northern Ireland: Get vaccinated “when invited for routine immunisations” during pandemic

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editor@newrytimes.com
Wednesday, May 6th, 2020
Coronavirus

The Public Health Agency (PHA) is urging people who are invited for routine vaccinations to be aware that it is more important than ever to take up the opportunity during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The call came during World Immunisation Week, which highlighted the importance of vaccines in protecting society against many lethal vaccine-preventable diseases.

Dr Jillian Johnston, Consultant in Health Protection at the PHA, told Newry Times, “Vaccines save millions of lives every year and are well recognised as being one of the most successful public health interventions in the world. 

 

 

“In Northern Ireland, our immunisation programmes have been highly successful in reducing serious and sometimes life-threatening diseases, such as pneumococcal and meningococcal infections, whooping cough, diphtheria and measles. 

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, it is really important that we continue to maintain the best possible uptake to prevent a resurgence of these infections, avoid outbreaks, and provide important protection to children and other vulnerable groups.

“It will also avoid increasing further the numbers of patients requiring health service support because of vaccine-preventable diseases.

 

 

 “The timing of each immunisation programme is based on robust scientific advice that takes into account the epidemiology of the particular infectious disease and how to maximise benefits, by helping to protect people at a time or stage of their life when they are at greatest risk from that infection.

She continued, “It is therefore important that every effort is made to ensure that vaccinations are completed on time within existing schedules.

“I would urge all parents to take up the opportunity to have their preschool-aged children vaccinated at their GP surgery when invited to do.

 

 

“I also urge any adults to receive vaccinations if invited by their GP, such as the whooping cough vaccine for pregnant women and the pneumococcal vaccine (PPV) for people who at risk from this condition.

“In October, when the flu programme again starts, it will also be more important than ever for all those eligible for the flu vaccine to receive it.

“While school-based programmes have stopped for this academic school year, they will restart as soon as possible and work is currently under way to look at these arrangements.

“It is completely safe to attend a healthcare setting for vaccination as long as you do not have symptoms of COVID-19 – cough and/ or temperature, or are feeling unwell, or have been potentially exposed to someone with coronavirus.

 

 

“If this is the case phone your practice first to seek advice or to reschedule.

“If you are afraid that you or your child may come into contact with COVID-19 in a healthcare setting please be reassured that robust infection control procedures are in place in healthcare settings to reduce the risk of spread of coronavirus.

Dr Johnston added, “Those involved in delivering immunisation programmes will ensure vaccination clinics have the appropriate social distancing measures in place to enable vaccines to continue to be given as normal.

For more information see www.pha.site/immunisation-vaccines

 

Keep up to date with all the latest Northern Ireland Coronavirus / Covid-19 news HERE

 

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