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Special drive-through vaccination service

A special drive-through vaccination service is being offered to parents at a GP surgery in Berkshire West to make sure children receive their regular vaccinations during the coronavirus pandemic.

Staff at Balmore Park Surgery now administer vaccinations for life threatening diseases like whooping cough, diphtheria, measles and pneumonia in the car park of the practice in Caversham, near Reading.

It’s part of a new NHS campaign to encourage people to attend for vaccinations to prevent the outbreak of deadly diseases which could have a major impact on the health service in years to come.

At Balmore Park, the team rings parents when the scheduled vaccinations are due, checks they are free of coronavirus symptoms or are not self-isolating because of a household contact, and then books them in for a drive through or walk in appointment.

Drive through patients are greeted in the car park, those on foot are directed through to a side door for their jab so they don’t need to enter the main surgery or waiting room.

Over at Pangbourne’s Boathouse Surgery, staff are running a pop up drive though service today (Wednesday) for pneumonia vaccinations.

Balmore GP Dr Tom Back, said: “the drive and walk through system has proved to be a very good, easy to access service. We fully understand some parents are worried about bringing their babies and children into the surgery during the coronavirus crisis – although I should add that the surgery is perfectly safe and people must not stay away if they are very unwell.

“The drive through means we have managed to maintain our clinics at the same levels as before the covid-19 outbreak.

“Of course we realise not all surgeries in our area have the facilities to offer this sort of drive through service, but they are all as keen as we are to make sure these vital vaccinations are administered during the covid outbreak.

“The safety of patients, staff and visitors are the priority at all surgeries so I’d urge people to get in touch with their practices and make the necessary arrangements for their vaccinations - they provide essential protection against potentially life-threatening diseases.

“If people are put off having vaccinations now because of covid, we could see a resurgence of these very serious diseases like measles and that would be a tragedy,” said Dr Back.

If you need medical help and are unsure what to do, call NHS 111 for help and advice. They are available 24 hours a day.