Childhood immunisations remain a priority during all COVID-19 Alert Levels and the Eastern Bay of Plenty Public Health Alliance (EBPHA) Outreach Immunisation Service (OIS) team are doing their best to ensure tamariki and pēpi don’t miss out.
Many GPs have noticed some reluctance of families to travel to practices in COVID-19 Alert Level 4, so the team are using the Community Health 4 Kids (CH4K) mobile van to hold two clinics a month outside the EBPHA offices in Louvain Street, Whakatāne, as well as visiting consenting families who have appointments.
Eastern Bay of Plenty Childhood Immunisation Coordinator Suzanne Thompson said public safety is the number one priority right now.
“We have been taking extra precautions during Alert Level 4 to ensure the safety of our tamariki and pēpi, their whānau, and our staff, is maintained at all times. The CH4K mobile van allows us to vaccinate without entering people’s homes and their bubbles. Our immunisation nurses wear appropriate PPE and provide assisting whānau with a mask if they don’t have one. We also clean and sanitise the mobile unit between each visit,” she said.
“We want to remind everyone about the importance of continuing with childhood immunisations during all COVID-19 Alert Levels, to protect children against other serious diseases, like measles and whooping cough. While you and the kids are at home, why not put this time to good use and contact your GP to make an appointment,” suggests Suzanne.
Bay of Plenty District Health Board’s Regional Manager of Community Health 4 Kids Martin Steinmann said the innovative way the EBPHA OIS have been ensuring their community can still access childhood immunisations should be applauded.
“Continuing with childhood immunisations through the COVID-19 Levels is a directive from the Ministry of Health because other diseases are still prevalent in our community,” he added.
If you have any immunisation questions, please phone your general practice or 0800 IMMUNE.
All other questions, please phone Plunketline on 0800 933 922 or Healthline 0800 611 116.