Meningitis Now staff - Claire Donovan

Concern grows over people delaying life-saving vaccinations

Claire Donovan | 16th April 2020

Meningitis Now would like to add its voice behind that of Dr Mary Ramsay at Public Health England in encouraging people to get vaccinated and protect themselves against a range of preventable diseases including meningitis, measles and mumps during the COVID-19 pandemic

Calls for people to still get routine vaccinations during coronavirus epidemic

Mindful of reports earlier this year that showed vaccine rates dropped to their lowest rates in five years among infants, we at Meningitis Now are concerned that parents worried about COVID-19 may simply forget or not feel it is important to protect their children against meningitis during the pandemic.

We are keen to let people know that GP practices are open and ready to administer vaccines in line with the normal vaccination schedules.

Adding his voice to the concerns, Dr Tom Nutt, CEO at Meningitis Now said:

"We are really concerned about any further decrease in vaccine uptake during the current crisis and would encourage everyone who is due a vaccination to make sure that an appointment is made with their GP to receive it - the NHS is still open for non-COVID-19 matters. 

Tom added, "While we fully understand people's concerns about troubling the NHS during the COVID-19 crisis, getting vaccinated is crucial and even more so now than ever before, as any new case of meningitis would be a tragedy on top of existing worries about coronavirus. It would also put additional pressure on an already stretched NHS system at this critical time."

A number of meningitis vaccines are routinely given to all babies born in the UK from 2 months of age. Vaccines are also offered to young people around the age of 14 and for adults aged 65.  For more information about vaccines relevant to you please see our vaccines information page.

"It’s a simple fact that vaccines save lives, so let’s not allow COVID-19 to add meningitis deaths to its list by not being vaccinated" concludes Tom.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, an independent body that advises government on vaccine and immunisation has stressed the importance of maintaining the UK’s vaccination programme. In a statement dated 17 April 2020, the JCVI provides clear guidelines to clinician’s on prioritising time sensitive vaccines for babies, children and pregnant women and pneumococcal vaccination for those in risk groups from 2 to 64 years of age and those aged 65 years and over. It also highlights the importance of vaccinating people should they present themselves at surgeries for immunisation. 

Read the full JCVI statement

Read PublicHealth England’s concerns

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