After a drop in the number of vaccinations for diseases like measles, pediatricians are urging American parents to hold on to routine vaccinations for their children Last year as the pandemic forced restrictions, including shelter-at-home orders.
New figures from 10 jurisdictions that closely monitor vaccination confirm that the number of vaccines administered fell between March and May last year, especially in older children, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Thursday.
Although vaccination resumed between June 2020 and September 2020, which was close to pre-pandemic levels, the increase was not enough to offset the earlier decline, the study found.
Vaccinations are required for attendance at most schools, camps and day care centers, but the authors of the CDC study warned that even then the gap “could pose a serious public health threat that would result in outbreaks of vaccine-preventable disease.” “
They expressed concern that the transition to distance learning during the pandemic may have hindered the implementation of vaccination requirements, noting that even a temporary drop in vaccination could compromise herd immunity.
In 2018-2019, there was a measles outbreak in Rockland County, NY, and surrounding counties, when measles vaccination coverage in area schools fell to 77 percent, from the 93 percent to 95 percent figure needed to maintain herd immunity. is down. “Child outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases have the potential to derail efforts to reopen schools,” the researchers said.
Parents should now plan ahead and schedule appointments so that their children can be protected, said Dr. Yvonne Maldonado, who chairs the committee on infectious diseases at the American Academy of Pediatrics.
“We should start thinking about it,” Dr Maldonado said in a phone interview. “People forget. We have regular pertussis outbreaks every four or five years, and we’re just waiting to see another.”
“We’re probably going to start seeing more infections, because kids are going to be back together and there’s going to be less masking and social distancing,” she said.
The CDC analyzed data from nine states and New York City. In eight jurisdictions, some form of stay-at-home order was issued last spring.
The number of administered doses of diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis vaccine (DTaP) fell by 15.7 percent in children under 2 years of age and 60 percent in children aged 2 to 6 in the spring of last year, compared with the same in 2018 and 2019. compared to the period.
Measles, mumps and rubella vaccine (MMR) doses dropped by 22.4 percent in children aged 1 year and 63 percent in those aged 2 to 8 years.
HPV vaccine administration among youth ages 9 to 17 declined by more than 63 percent compared to the same period in 2018 and 2019; and Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis) doses decreased by more than 60 percent.