PARENTS must remember to vaccinate their kids against measles and other deadly diseases to prevent a second epidemic, health chiefs warn.
Experts are worried many mums and dads are so focused on the threat of coronavirus they will forget to attend appointments for routine jabs.
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This risks a surge in killer infections, which could devastate families and overwhelm an already stretched NHS.
NHS England will today launch a campaign to remind parents of the importance of life-saving vaccines.
It includes those for measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), pneumonia, diphtheria, hepatitis B, polio, tetanus and whooping cough.
Jabs are available through GP surgeries and new children’s drive-through clinics.
Officials say people should attend as usual as long as they and others in their household do not have symptoms of Covid-19.
Appointments should be rearranged if people do have symptoms and those attending should stay two meters from other patients.
Dr Nikita Kanani, NHS England Medical Director for Primary Care, said: “Vaccines are an absolutely essential building block of good health, so if you or any member of your household are not displaying symptoms of coronavirus and are not self-isolating, vaccinations should happen as normal.
“While the NHS is taking unprecedented measures to protect people from coronavirus, local services are working hard to ensure that people including babies, children and pregnant women still receive their routine vaccinations – they provide essential protection against potentially life-threatening diseases.”
PROTECTING THE NATION'S HEALTH
Ministers were already concerned about a rise in cases of measles in the UK, fuelled by antivax messages spread on social media.
Only 86 per cent of five-year-olds in England received both doses of the MMR jab in 2018/19.
And the World Health Organisation stripped the UK of its measles-free status last August after infection rates rocketed.
Public Health Minister Jo Churchill said: “Vaccines help protect all of us from preventable outbreaks of infectious diseases like measles which can have devastating consequences.
“Children should continue to go to their routine vaccination appointments when they are invited by their GP.
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“If you need to visit your GP, parents should be reassured that going to a medical appointment is classed as essential travel as long as no one in the household is displaying Covid-19 symptoms.”
Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisations at Public Health England, said: “The national immunisation programme remains in place to protect the nation’s health and no one should be in any doubt of the devastating impact of diseases such as measles, meningitis and pneumonia.
“During this time, it is important to maintain the best possible vaccine uptake to prevent a resurgence of these infections."
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