Immunisation appointments for children and pregnant women are continuing during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, says NHS Western Isles.

Scheduled immunisations are an important and legitimate medical reason to leave your house, and people who have an immunisation appointment should attend as planned.f an individual with an upcoming immunisation appointment - or a member of their household – is showing symptoms of COVID-19, then they must not attend, but should call the number on their invitation to rearrange the appointment.

Dr Gregor Smith, Interim Chief Medical Officer, said “We’re grateful to everyone for heeding our Stay Home Save Lives message during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the NHS is still open, and the routine vaccination programme is an important way to protect you and your family’s health.

“It is important we continue to protect children and other vulnerable groups against serious vaccine-preventable diseases. Routine immunisations for children and pregnant women are a crucial way we can help keep people safe and healthy at this time.

“We know members of the public will have protecting their family’s health from coronavirus, by following guidance on social distancing and not travelling unnecessarily, at the forefront of their minds. But receiving an immunisation is one of the important medical reasons for which you should leave your house, and it will help protect you or your child from other serious diseases.”

Dr Maggie Watts, Director of Public Health for NHS Western Isles,​ said “We are encouraging all parents and guardians of children, and all pregnant women to attend their scheduled immunisation appointments at their GP practice. If you cannot attend because you or your family are showing symptoms of coronavirus, please call your GP practice to rearrange this appointment.

”All scheduled immunisation appointments in the Outer Hebrides are continuing and we would encourage all children and pregnant women to attend. If you cannot attend because you or your family are showing symptoms of coronavirus, please call your GP practice to rearrange.

"Members of the public can keep up-to-date about immunisations on NHS Inform here and follow the @NHSImmuniseScot Twitter account for the latest advice on immunisations."

Children should attend for a range of vaccinations at 8 weeks, 12 weeks, 16 weeks, 12-13 months and 3 years and 4 months old.

Pregnant women are invited to the Whooping Cough vaccine from 16 weeks of their pregnancy.