Should we continue to give our children routine immunizations during this pandemic?
Yes, definitely. It is important to do your best to keep your child on schedule with their routine childhood vaccinations. Through 18 months old, most pediatric well child checks include vaccinations and it is important for your child’s health, and public health, to keep your child up to date. Since the Coronavirus pandemic began, childhood vaccinations have dropped off significantly both nationally and globally. The anti-vax movement in the US has already led to declining rates in recent years, but the pandemic’s toll on vaccination rates will be even harder to recover from. Globally, mass vaccination programs have been disrupted including 24 countries who have paused or postponed those programs. Based on the disruptions, the WHO estimates that “more than 100 million children worldwide could be vulnerable to measles. The[se] declines set the world up for a public health crisis.”
Here in the US, many pediatric clinics were able to quickly shift to telemedicine and made plans to continue vaccinating the youngest patients, however parental fear of exposure still limited well child checks and vaccines. Some clinics tried to adjust by creating drive-through vaccinations or quick outdoor vaccinations, but some could not do this for insurance or staffing reasons. At The Village Doctor, we have been fortunate to be able to keep our babies and young patients close to on schedule through drive-up vaccines, outdoor visits and strategically timed in-office visits to keep our staff and patient families safe. We are grateful for our patients who have trusted us to protect their families and will continue to do our best to keep all of our members safe. To read more about the importance of routinely scheduled childhood immunizations and the effects of the pandemic on vaccination rates, please click here.
(Jackie Phillips, MD, June 15, 2020)