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Unprecedented demand for school age vaccinations

Unprecedented demand as NHS restarts school age vaccinations programme: The NHS has reported unprecedented demand since it restarted its vaccination programme in the East of England to protect year-eight and year-nine school children against infection and disease.

As schools were closed in late March due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many secondary students were unable to receive their routine vaccinations against a number of diseases including HPV, meningitis and polio.

Dr Cath Fenton, Head of Public Health for NHS England and NHS Improvement in the East of England, which commissions the vaccination programme, said:

“We’re delighted that our school aged immunisation services are able to offer immunisations again.

“The vaccinations offers protection against a range of infections that can cause very serious illnesses in children.

“As young people emerge from lockdown and start to return to more routine activities, now is a great time to get vaccinated, and early signs are that people are keen to attend their appointment.

“I’d urge all parents and young people who get an invitation to take up the offer. It’s quick and easy and will give lasting protection.”

The services are delivered in the East of England by Cambridgeshire Community Services, Essex Partnership University Trust and Hertfordshire Community Trust.

Caroline Shepherd Operational Manager Child Health (Central Midlands South) and School Aged Immunisation Service (Hertfordshire) Hertfordshire Community Trust said:

“There has been unprecedented demand for vaccinations and we have received feedback from parents who appreciate being able to have their children vaccinated in a convenient, secure location run by an immunisation team.”

The team phone parents in advance of the appointment to explain the processes in place for their children’s safety and are able to reassure parents about any concerns they may have.

Hertford Community Trust’s immunisation team have piloted a drive though vaccination clinic for year 8 children who missed their second dose of HPV due to the school closures over the summer term.

Extensive planning has taken place to resume the school aged immunisation programme and vaccinate those children who were unable to receive their vaccination at school.

Parents are invited to bring their child to a range of sites including family and health centres, youth clubs as well as using immunisation drive throughs, where nurses give the relevant vaccination.

Parents like the convenience of the drive through, and children are more comfortable with having their vaccination in their car, without any anxieties over concerns of peer pressure within the school environment.

Plans have been developed to use the summer break to catch up on the backlog from the 2019/20 school year, and any outstanding vaccinations will be caught up in the 2020/21 school years.

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