Vaccine rates down 40 to 70 percent, say worried pediatricians

Vaccine rates down 40 to 70 percent, say worried pediatricians

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Vaccine rates have dropped as much as 70 percent

Vaccination rates across the country have dropped between 40 and 70 percent since the COVID-19 outbreak, the New York Times reports. Part of the reason is simply because it's harder to get an appointment since some clinics are closing temporarily or reducing hours amid the pandemic. Also, the fear of potentially exposing themselves or their children to COVID-19 by visiting a medical establishment is on parents' minds

This drop in vaccination rates is a problem because kids who don't get vaccinated on time could end up being exposed to other dangerous diseases such as measles and whooping cough. In fact, the United States has already experienced a surge in measles outbreaks over the past few years, partly due to delayed or skipped vaccinations.

Experts are concerned that the widespread delays in vaccinations during the coronavirus pandemic could lead to new outbreaks of preventable diseases. They're urging doctors and parents to continue vaccinating kids on schedule.

To prevent disease outbreaks, between 90 and 95 percent of the population needs to have immunity to a given illness. Vaccines help to assure that immunity. Immunizing children on schedule and – where appropriate – getting vaccinated during pregnancy also helps protect those who are too young or unable to get a vaccine and for whom diseases such as whooping cough can be especially deadly.

Vaccination options during the pandemic

The good news is, many healthcare providers are finding ways to continue offering timely vaccinations and well-child visits, while reducing the risk of exposure to COVID-19. New strategies include:

  • Setting up vaccination tents in a parking lot or field
  • Providing drive-through immunizations
  • Having families wait in the car until an exam room is ready
  • Scheduling well-patient visits in the morning and sick visits in the evening, so clinics can be disinfected at the end of each day
  • Sending out mobile vaccination units
  • Doing house calls

Catherine Flores Martin, executive director of the California Immunization Coalition, recommends contacting your child's healthcare provider or local health clinic to find out how to safely stay up to date on essential vaccines while sheltering in place. She said not all clinics are good at getting the word out that they're still providing services. Parents may find that their child's pediatrician has a plan in place to provide well-child visits and vaccines during COVID-19.

Parents shouldn't hesitate to reach out to their pediatrician. "Sometimes the doctors expect the parents to call them, but the parents expect the doctors to call," Flores Martin said. "There's a communication gap."

Also, if you've lost your job and as a result your health insurance, your child can still get care. Here are ways to obtain free or low-cost vaccinations for your child.

our site News & Analysis is an assessment of recent news designed to cut through the hype and get you what you need to know.

Watch the video: Pediatricians concerned about missed vaccinations due to COVID-19 (May 2022).

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