The pandemic has caused huge disruption to our daily lives and despite the easing of lockdown restrictions, many of us are still wary of venturing out.
It’s feared that this has led to some pre-school children missing routine vaccination appointments.
Health professionals working in the community say they’ve had reports of parents and carers turning down invitations to attend their GP surgery due to concerns about potential Covid-19 infection.
This could lead to a resurgence in preventable diseases such as measles and whooping cough in future.
Swansea Bay University Health Board and colleagues in Public Health Wales have moved to offer reassurances over safety and address a range of other concerns.
“It is natural to feel scared and reluctant to bring your child to the surgery during this time,” said Nicola Baker, operational lead for the Flying Start Health Team.
“But be assured that they are following the latest guidance and will take all possible precautions to prevent the spread of Covid-19 to keep you, your child and staff safe during your child’s appointment.
“This will include the regular cleaning of the surgery, the use of personal protective equipment, and arrangements to keep a safe distance from others.”
GP Iestyn Davies, the Cwmtawe Cluster lead, said: “These are challenging times and GP surgeries are working very differently at the moment.
“But we are still here to serve our communities and the immunisation programme remains a high priority.
“It is best for children to have their vaccinations on time so that they are protected as lockdown is gradually lifted and people start to go out more and meet up with family and friends.
“We don’t want to see potentially-fatal illnesses like measles given the chance to take hold in our communities.”
One of the most important things you can do to protect your child is to get them immunised against preventable diseases. Immunisations protect against serious, and sometimes life-threatening diseases.
Some immunisations need to be given more than once to develop immunity and long-lasting protection from disease. Babies, for example, need the 6 in 1 vaccine at 8, 12 and 16 weeks old.
Safe and effective immunisations work by teaching your child’s body how to fight a disease, developing what is called immunity.
Some vaccines are called live vaccines and others are known as inactivated vaccines. Both are given as part of the routine childhood immunisation programme.
Live vaccines are made up of a weakened version of the bacteria or virus responsible for the disease, whereas inactivated vaccines are made from dead forms of the bacteria or virus. Neither can cause the disease.
When the vaccine is given, your child’s immune system responds to the dead or weakened bacteria or virus by making antibodies, just as it would for the real disease.
The immune system then remembers the bacteria or virus and how to destroy it should your child be exposed to the disease in future.
The best way for your child to develop immunity against a disease is for their body to learn to fight it by having the vaccine, rather than from catching, suffering from and treating the disease.
We can stop the spread of disease within our communities if enough people are immunised. Through vaccines, you can help to protect people who cannot have the vaccine such as unwell babies or those with certain health conditions.
If you and your child/children have moved to the UK from another country, please ensure your child/children are vaccinated according to the UK schedule.
The timings of childhood immunisations can vary between countries and your child/children may need an additional dose of certain vaccinations to bring them in line with the UK schedule and ensure they have the maximum protection.
For more information on immunisations, contact your health visitor/GP surgery,
Go to sbuhb.nhs.wales/go/childhood-vaccinations for answers to frequently asked questions.