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Parents in north east London urged to use half-term to get children vaccinated

Parents in north east London are being urged by the local NHS to ensure their child is protected against serious illness by attending a half-term vaccination clinic.

With most local schools closed next week (24-28 October), hundreds of extra bookable and walk-in appointments will be available for children’s vaccinations for polio, Covid-19 and flu, and for other routine immunisations such as measles, mumps and rubella (MMR).

Diane Jones, Chief Nursing Officer for NHS North East London (NHS NEL), said: “It is vitally important that parents ensure their children are up to date with their vaccinations to keep them fully protected against infectious diseases – especially as we approach the winter season.

“That’s why we have put on additional vaccination clinics across north east London during next week’s half-term and we urge parents to take the opportunity to use them to ensure children are protected against serious illness.”

Parents of children aged one to nine are also being encouraged to take up the offer of a polio booster vaccine as soon as possible after public health experts confirmed there were signs the highly-infections virus – which can cause lifelong paralysis – may be spreading in London.

For children in Barking and Dagenham, City of London, Hackney, Havering, Newham, Redbridge, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest, vaccinations are being offered as follows:

Polio and other childhood immunisations

The NHS has contacted parents of children aged one to nine offering them a polio vaccine. For some children this may be an extra dose of polio vaccine on top of their routine vaccinations. In other children it may just bring them up to date.

To book a child’s polio vaccination, parents have two options:

Your GP should have contacted you – follow their instructions to book an appointment with them. You can also go to a vaccination clinic. There are sites across north east London offering pre-booked and walk-in appointments. Visit the NHS NEL website for more information, including opening times and booking details. 

It is important for young children and babies to complete their childhood immunisation programme for the best protection against infectious diseases including polio and MMR. If your child has missed a vaccine, contact your GP for a catch-up vaccination. Information on childhood vaccinations, and when to have them, is also available on the NHS website vaccinations page.

The NHS is running a MMR catch-up campaign so some parents may be contacted directly.

Flu vaccinations

The nasal spray flu vaccine is offered every year to children aged two and over, and to eligible teenagers aged up to 17, to help protect them against the virus. Flu can be a very unpleasant illness for children and can lead to serious health problems.

Children aged two and three will be given the vaccination at their local GP surgery, usually by the practice nurse. School-aged children and young people will be offered the flu vaccine in school. For most children, it will be given as a spray in each nostril – a very quick and painless procedure. To book an appointment for your child, and for more information, visit the winter vaccinations page on the NHS NEL website.

Covid-19 vaccinations

All children and young people aged five to 15 (on 31 August 2022) are eligible for two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine. The number of additional doses they may be eligible for depends on their age and if they have any additional risk factors. Further information on booking your child’s Covid-19 vaccination, and eligibility, is available on the NHS website.