NEWS

PHE issues guidance on maintaining immunisation programmes during the COVID-19 pandemic

Public Health England has published Clinical guidance for healthcare professionals on maintaining immunisation programmes during COVID-19, which provides guidance on maintaining routine vaccination services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The national immunisation programme is intended to reduce the incidence of serious diseases such as pneumococcal and meningococcal infections, whooping cough, diphtheria, and measles. Although it is likely that measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, such as social distancing and reduced overseas travel, will also reduce the spread of some vaccine preventable diseases, some diseases are much more infectious than COVID-19 and may be carried by their hosts for many years.

Therefore, it remains important to maintain routine vaccination services to avoid outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases, both for the health of the population and to reduce the burden on health services. The guidance provides advice on highlighting to patients the importance of attending immunisation appointments despite concerns about contracting COVID-19, and the adoption of measures such as social distancing and decontamination to keep patients safe while they undergo routine vaccination.