Kids falling behind in vaccinations during COVID-19
The Seattle Times reports a significant drop in the number of children being vaccinated in Washington State over the past 2 months, with about 30% fewer vaccinations in March, and close to 40% fewer in April.
And Dr. Dee Hoyano, Medical Health Officer at Island Health, says while she doesn't have the hard numbers, COVID-19 has kept parents and kids away from clinics here as well:
" We definitely know there's impacts of COVID with immunization. Particularly in the earlier phase when a lot of the health services were really focused on COVID-19 preparation."
Hoyano says it's important that children's vaccinations are kept up to date to prevent outbreaks of preventable diseases, like measles and whooping cough:
" The health units are open and they are set up for safe delivery of vaccinations, and we do encourage everyone who may have postponed their kids' immunizations, or they are just coming due now, to call and make that appointment."
Hoyano says just as in other settings there will be screening questions to ensure you aren't visiting a clinic when you are actively ill.
Health clinics are open, and parents should make arrangements to ensure their children are caught up:
" I think the one message for parents who may be wondering, you know we do have school Immunizations for grade 6's and grade 9's. And there's going to be work underway to try to make sure that all those children are caught up as well, before we start into the next school year."
The BC Government brought in a new law last year enabling the immunization records of school-age children to be collected for a provincial immunization registry.
It will allow health care providers to quickly determine if a person is immunized or not, which could provide important information during disease outbreaks in schools.
Link to Island Health Immunization info: https://www.islandhealth.ca/learn-about-health/immunizations/immunizations