Vaccine rates drop as parents skip checkups
Vaccination rates are down as parents opt out of well-visit trips amid the coronavirus pandemic, The New York Times reports.
PCC, a pediatric electronic health records company, gathered vaccine information from 1,000 independent pediatricians nationwide to compare vaccination rates from Feb. 16 as a pre-coronavirus baseline with the rates during the week of April 5, the Times reports.
Based on the data, the administration of measles, mumps and rubella shots dropped by 50 percent, diphtheria and whooping cough shots dropped by 42 percent and HPV vaccines dropped by 73 percent, the Times reports.
But health experts warned that skipping the vaccinations could create a larger risk for the general community, as the optimum rate of coverage for most vaccines is about 90 to 95 percent, the Times notes.
“The last thing we want as the collateral damage of COVID-19 are outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases, which we will almost certainly see if there continues to be a drop in vaccine uptake,” Dr. Sean T. O’Leary, a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ committee on infectious diseases, told the Times.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Physicians have urged doctors to keep well visits scheduled for vaccinations.
The American Academy of Pediatrics encourages doctors to prioritize in-person newborn care and well visits and immunizations of infants and young children when possible.
The CDC also recommends prioritizing newborn, infant and young child care if providers can only offer limited well child visits and offers recommendations to help ensure safety, including scheduling well visits in the morning and sick visits in the afternoon.
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