Attention may well be on the rollout of the coronavirus vaccine at present, but school children across Tameside and Glossop are still being protected from other serious infections, which in some instances can be life-threatening.
A new process has been developed by Tameside Hospital's School Nurses and Immunisation Team to ensure this can still continue during the coronavirus pandemic.
One of the team's key roles is to vaccinate school children against diseases such as Tuberculosis (TB), Polio, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Meningitis and Human Papilloma Virus (HPV).
However, the normal schedule of work was disrupted at the start of the pandemic, as many of the team were redeployed to support other critical services at the hospital and, of course, schools closed which meant it was not possible to deliver the vaccination programme in the usual way.
But to ensure that children could still receive the vital protection that immunisation provides, not only to them as individuals but to the wider community, the team came up with a creative solution.
A drive-through service was recently set up at Stalybridge Celtic Junior Football Club on Mossley Road.
Immunisation Nurses Tracy Taylor and Jen Laycock vaccinate a child at the drive through clinic
Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Ashton-based Tameside Hospital, says it has been a great success and, alongside community clinics, has enabled the team to reduce the number of children requiring vaccination from 6,000 to 500.
The team are also working closely with schools to make sure pupils are invited to the drive-through service and that community clinics remain available too.
Rugare Musekiwa, Clinical Pathway Lead for the programme, said: "I would like to say a massive thank you to Stalybridge Celtic Junior Football Club for letting us use their facilities.
“I am proud of the team who have worked so hard to get the drive through clinic up and running and are working in totally new ways, in all weather conditions too!
“The school vaccination programme is crucial to preventing a number of serious but totally avoidable infections.”
The team have been inundated with positive messages on their Facebook page. To support the team and get up to date information from them, search ‘Tameside School Nursing Team’ on Facebook.
(left to right) Jen Laycock, Immunisation Nurse, Tracy Taylor, Immunisation Nurse and Angela Moreland, Team Leader.