Local authorities are urging parents, families and guardians to contact their local GP, school or health centre to make sure their children’s vaccinations are up to date.
The Local Government Association (LGA) has warned that failure to vaccinate children today could lead to ‘avoidable consequences’ in the long term.
It said that due to the coronavirus lockdown many children and young people will have missed out on routine HPV, meningitis, and MMR vaccinations as they were unable to attend schools and health clinics.
Research by Public Health England and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine shows that immunisations fell by 20% in the first three weeks of lockdown.
The LGA is calling for the Government to set out its plan to ensure that children receive routine vaccinations without overwhelming GPs, clinics and schools, and to provide the necessary funding to allow local authority workforces to cope with the demand.
‘Vaccines are an absolutely essential part of our children’s health and wellbeing, so if you or any member of your household are not displaying symptoms of coronavirus and are not self-isolating, vaccinations should happen as normal,’ said Cllr Judith Blake, chair of the LGA’s Children and Young People Board.
‘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.
‘The national immunisation programme is highly successful in reducing the number of serious and life-threatening diseases such as whooping cough, scarlet fever and measles. High vaccine uptake can prevent a resurgence of these infections, which can cause harm and put unnecessary added pressure on the NHS.
‘We really do encourage parents to check if their child needs any vaccinations to make sure they are properly protected.’