The past 18 months have brought challenges to everyone and many of us have had to adapt our ways of working due to COVID. Our 0 to 19 service immunisations team delivers the school vaccination programme, visiting high schools to provide children with the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) 1 and HPV 2 vaccines, and the school leaver vaccines which are Meningitis ACWY, and the Diptheria, Polio and Tetanus (DPT) booster. When schools closed at the beginning of the pandemic in March last year, the team had to think outside the box to look at different ways of making sure children were able to stay up to date with their immunisations.
Despite the challenges that the team has faced, they have successfully administered over 18,000 vaccines to high school children in Bolton between March 2020 and August 2021, which isn’t far short of the 20,000 vaccines that they would normally aim to achieve in ‘non-COVID’ times. When possible, the Immunisation team has continued with their routine high school vaccination sessions, adapting their practices and wearing PPE, but even when schools have been open, it’s been extremely difficult to capture all the students due to receive their vaccinations. With school bubbles regularly bursting, the team could be walking into school only to find that students were being sent home to isolate.
Determined to deliver the high school vaccination programme, they have run catch up sessions during the school holidays at a number of venues across Bolton including at schools, health centres, and SureStart centres, as well as two larger sessions at the Victoria Hall, and Bolton Technical Innovation Centre to capture any children who may have been off school unwell or isolating.
Jayne Monaghan, Team Leader for the 0-19 service Immunisation team, said: “Even though the pandemic has been the hot topic over the past year and a half, it’s vital that we continue to vaccinate children and young people against other illnesses. Immunisations play a hugely important role in protecting our children from serious infections and preventing outbreaks of other diseases.
“I’m really proud of the way the team has adapted their ways of working and the commitment they’ve shown to ensuring everyone who is eligible to have the high school vaccinations has had access to them. Their positivity and enthusiasm has been amazing and we’re continuing to look at different ways of catching up on all remaining vaccines.”
“The support from the wider 0-19 service is also greatly appreciated and has made this possible.”
Congratulations to the team on their fantastic achievement.