Pandemic changes causing fewer children to get vaccinated

Medical Watch

As scientists scramble to find a vaccine against COVID-19, there is some disturbing news about vaccines already available to protect children.

Only 55% of children in Illinois right now are up to date on their childhood vaccinations, that ranks our state the 18th lowest in the nation.

That poor response could leave children more vulnerable when it comes to facing COVID-19.

“Right now, it’s crucial that individuals keep themselves up to date on their vaccines and get the vaccines they are missing,” she said. “Because once the fall rolls around and we have the emergence of influenza and we have a resurgence of COVID, it’s going to make it very, very difficult to keep people safe and healthy.”

According to American Academy of Pediatrics data compiled by Quotewizard, lack of insurance drives poor vaccination rates. And the numbers put kids at risk. Add in the pandemic, doctor’s offices closing doors and only doing telehealth visits.

“Vaccines are not a thing you can do by telehealth,” Tan said. “So even though some of the other well child visits were being done by telehealth, the vaccinations were not being done.”

That means shots to protect against flu, measles, mumps, rubella and HBV sat in physicians offices not administered to children

In May, vaccination rates plummeted up to 91 percent. Tan said now is the time to get caught up. Then when a COVID-19 vaccine is available, she said to get that.

“I would say if the FDA approves a safe and effective vaccine, people should get the vaccine,” she said. “Primarily because COVID is not going to go away.”

During flu season every year, less than half the people in the U.S choose a vaccination even though it is known to reduce the severity and duration of illness and in some protect them completely.  When questioned about the proposed COVID-19 vaccine, a similar number says no thanks.

“Only 50 percent of individuals that were surveyed said they would get a COVID-vaccine,” Tan said. “Because they sort of felt like this was being developed too fast and there wasn’t enough safety data.”

But without higher vaccine compliance, COVID will continue dominating.

“You need to have 65-70% of the population immune to COVID in order for the transmission to be decreased or stopped,” Tan said,.

People who already had COVID-19 do have antibodies which doctors say will protect them against illness. But new studies show that immunity does not last. Multiple recovered patients in other countries, tested positive and got sick a second time.

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