Since the Coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown, the School Age Immunisation Team has had to re-invent how it goes about protecting children and young people against a range of potentially deadly conditions.

Most young people weren’t at school, so the team, who are part of Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (MPFT) had to get creative.

“National advice to cease school-based immunisations resulted in 19,200 vaccinations being postponed between April and June,” said Sophie Tellwright, Clinical Lead for the Team. “Since then, we’ve been trying to catch-up.”

It’s crucial children get the right immunisations at the right time. So the team have worked throughout the summer holidays and set up a number of mobile drive-through immunisation stations.

Sophie explained: “Each person is given a five-minute time slot. A COVID-19 questionnaire is completed before the young person is driven into our immunisation tent – where PPE is used and infection control guidelines are followed. They roll down the car window, they answer a few questions and the vaccination is then administered without the young person getting out of the car. And that’s it!”

The team set up ‘drive-through’ and ‘drive-to’ stations during the summer holidays at St George’s Hospital in Stafford, Stoke City’s Bet365 Stadium, Uttoxeter Racecourse, Cannock Leisure Centre and Tamworth Snowdome. The tents have been donated by Autoglass.

“Obviously having schools open again is going to help us so much,” added Sophie. “And we’ll be taking lots of precautions in line with national and local guidelines to keep ourselves and the young people of Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent safe from coronavirus.”

Some facts

The team work across approximately 400 primary schools, 100 secondary schools, 35 special schools and 25 alternative education establishments across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.

They protect young people and the wider community against:

  • human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • diphtheria, tetanus and polio
  • meningitis and septicaemia (MenACWY)
  • flu
  • measles, mumps and rubella (MMR)
 
Watch Sophie talking from an immunisation station

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