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  • Writer's pictureDr Andy Raffles

Immunisations and Covid-19

Help – I cannot get to the clinic for my new baby vaccines – What should I do?

Firstly, congratulations on the birth of your new baby – an event to be enjoyed and celebrated by the family. So, what’s the next hurdle for the baby and family?

Well – after all the challenges of feeding, sleeping (or not), the additional issues arising from the current health related challenges and just when you thought things were difficult enough – it is time for your baby’s immunisations – which in the UK and most of mainland Europe are given at 2, 3, 4 and 12 months, and in the USA at 2, 4, 6 and 12 months.

As a conscientious parent and carer you want to do the best for your child, but currently find the baby clinic is closed or the GP practice is unavailable – or the vaccines are not all available - what should you do, and does it matter?

We at Dr Ian Hay Ltd, will do everything we can to ensure your child receives the vaccines they require on time. At this time, there may still however be issues beyond your or our control, which result in a delay or omission of certain vaccines and we will offer catch up on interrupted schedules, once things settle. We hope to be able to provide vaccine sessions and are in discussion with the hospital to see if this will be possible. We may also be able to offer home visits for some patients, where safe to do so.

Please be reassured however, it is not that unusual for vaccine schedules to be delayed or interrupted, by supply or human issues. A study from Quebec showed in 2018 the proportion of children with vaccine delay was 5.4% at 2 months, 13.3% at 4 months, 23.1% at 6 months and 23.6% at 12 months.

The first vaccines at 2 months should be given if at all possible but can be delayed, preferably for as short a period as possible. Subsequent delays of one month in the UK would only result in the 3 month vaccines being given at 4 months – as is routine in the USA.

Although missing or delaying vaccines does potentially impact on the health of a child and increase the risk of contracting one of the illnesses the vaccine would usually protect against, such infections are thankfully rare. This is due to herd immunity, which has resulted from excellent vaccine coverage amongst the other slightly older children, and the relative rarity of the infectious diseases at this time.

Catch up schedules are published for the UK:

and the USA:

these will help plan when and which vaccines to give, if there has been a delay in obtaining the standard course of vaccine. Our consultants will refer to these schedules to ensure your child is fully protected as soon as is possible.

Please don’t worry, together we will resolve any vaccine related issues together, and assure you of a healthy happy child, even at this challenging time.

Dr Andy Raffles

Reference: Impact of vaccine delays at the 2, 4, 6 and 12 month visits on incomplete vaccination status by 24 months of age in Quebec, Canada – 2018 Marilou Kiely, et al BMC Public Health volume 18, Article number: 1364 (2018)

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