Families are putting off important routine childhood immunisations during the COVID-19 pandemic, the latest findings from The RCH National Child Health Poll has found.
Poll Director and paediatrician Dr Anthea Rhodes said the survey revealed 20 per cent of children aged under five-years-old had their vaccinations delayed during the pandemic.
“For most parents, we found that concerns about their child or themselves catching COVID-19 at a health service are driving their choice to delay scheduled vaccinations. The day-to-day stresses families have faced through this challenging time has also been a factor, with a quarter putting off appointments because they had too much else to worry about,” Dr Rhodes said.
“What’s most important for us is reminding families that hospitals and clinics are safe places to attend, and that keeping up-to-date with vaccinations is essential, even during the pandemic. We urge all parents to make and keep medical appointments when needed.”
The RCH Immunisation Service has also seen a decrease in presentations with almost two-thirds of families delaying or cancelling their appointment during the pandemic.
In response, this week the RCH has launched a new drive-through immunisation clinic to help make it easier for families to access these important vaccinations.
Nurse practitioner and Manager of the RCH Immunisation Service, Sonja Elia, said getting vaccinations on time is important and means that your child is protected.
“What’s concerning is that it seems people are thinking that vaccinations are not important at the moment because we’re not going out. But once restrictions are lifted, we’re going to see a re-emergence of other viruses such as measles and chicken pox” Sonja said.
“With many vaccinations offered through programs at school, and with the learning year disrupted, children are missing out on essential and repeat doses.
“The more options we have for families to access routine childhood vaccinations the better, and a service like the drive-through will help to reassure families and address any anxieties.”
The RCH drive-through immunisation clinic is open for bookings on Tuesdays and Wednesdays 9am-1pm. The service is available to all members of the public and for all vaccinations.
Bookings are essential before attending the clinic. To make a booking, please click through to our booking form.
For more information or if you have any questions, please contact the Immunisation Service team at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 9345 6599.
Monash Health is currently also operating a drive-in immunisation clinic located at Monash Hall, 264 Clayton Road, Clayton from 9am – 3pm weekdays. You can find out more information on its website.
To read all the findings, visit The RCH National Child Health Poll website.