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Coronavirus: Disease Control

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 19th May 2020.

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Photo of Chris Green Chris Green Conservative, Bolton West

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of social distancing measures put in place due to the covid-19 outbreak on the future incidence and outcomes of vaccine preventable diseases which (a) are included and (b) not included in the UK National Immunisation Programme.

Photo of Jo Churchill Jo Churchill The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

Public Health England (PHE) and NHS England and NHS Improvement are working with regional commissioners to ensure that routine immunisations continue to be delivered in primary care settings to ensure those eligible are protected against a range of vaccine preventable diseases. General practices continue to offer routine vaccination services, using social distancing and personal protective equipment according to national guidelines. Programmes delivered through schools are currently on hold and will be rescheduled as schools open.

PHE continues to promote the importance of routine immunisations particularly for children and those in clinical risk groups, for example through the Vaccine Update at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/vaccine-update

Preliminary data indicates there has not been a significant reduction in the number of primary immunisation doses administered compared to the previous year, though there is some indication of a decrease in the first dose of measles, mumps and rubella vaccinations. These data can be viewed at the following link:

https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.05.07.20094557v1

The Government’s COVID-19 Action Plan has stated that everyone should ensure that they and their family’s vaccinations are up-to-date, as this will help to reduce any pressure on the National Health Service from vaccine-preventable diseases. Further information is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-action-plan/coronavirus-action-plan-a-guide-to-what-you-can-expect-across-the-uk

Immunisations outside of the UK National Immunisation Programme, such as those for travel and occupational health purposes, are unlikely to have a significant effect on public health due to these being primarily individual risks not population level risks.

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