Child vaccinations rate steady in Tower Hamlets but more parents urged to attend amid 25pc London drop
- Credit: Archant
Child vaccination rates remained steady in Tower Hamlets during the coronavirus response, despite a drop of up to 25 per cent across London.
The NHS is urging parents to take young children for immunisation appointments to prevent outbreaks of serious diseases and reduce pressure on the health service.
GP practices in the borough have sought to make parents feel safe and comfortable in various ways, including increasing gaps between appointments to maintain social distancing and carrying out key parts of the consultation by phone before they physically come in.
Bromley by Bow Health director of nursing Linda Aldous, who is the maternity and early years lead for Tower Hamlets CCG, said: “Our staff are acutely aware of infection control and prevention needs and we have been able to take the time to explain our approach to parents who have concerns.
“Our aim is to protect children as we know that if they do not receive these vital vaccinations, we could see a rise in other diseases like measles as well as dealing with coronavirus.
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“Parents can feel reassured that practice teams are taking extra steps to protect people, and that they can attend appointments and keep vaccinations on track.”
Data from GP practices across London indicates the number of children who had vital immunisations on time dropped on average by around a quarter in May compared with the same time last year.
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London’s vaccination rates for young children are already among the lowest in the UK, typically 5 to 10pc lower than the best performing parts of the country.
Vaccination schedules are carefully timed during early years to maximise protection, so it’s important they are followed as closely as possible.
Medical director for the NHS in London, Dr Vin Diwakar, said: “Young babies are vulnerable and need protection from a range of diseases.
“Social distancing will not protect young children from the risks of diseases such as meningitis.
“London already has lower vaccination rates compared to elsewhere in the UK, meaning we cannot afford to go backwards.
“The good news is that if we act now, it’s not too late for us to catch up with the effects of the pandemic and protect children.”