Doctors in the Tampa Bay area share concerns over kids that may have fallen behind on routine vaccinations during the pandemic, while CDC data highlights the pandemic’s impact on this preventative and routine care.
A recent CDC report showed in 2020, the estimated global coverage with certain vaccinations, like doses of polio and measles-containing vaccines, decreased.
“It’s a concern globally, and it’s a concern even locally that people skipped those appointments, and maybe they haven’t made them up and got used to not coming to preventative care every year,” said Dr. Joseph Perno, the VP of Medical Affairs at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital.
In another CDC report from this summer, an analysis of data from around the US indicated doses of routine childhood and adolescent vaccines were substantially lower during March to May 2020 compared with previous years, and although numbers rebounded during June to September 2020, it says the increase wasn’t enough to catch up.
Dr. Perno thinks we were making some headway catching up, but believes we took a small step back over the summer months.
“I think definitely we’ve done better, but I know we felt it over the summer when we were having the surge of the Delta variant through July, August, and to September, we saw our routine visits drop again,” said Perno.
Dr. Perno points to factors like shutdowns early on in the pandemic that may have impacted appointments and fears of going to a health care facility during the pandemic.
“We take it for granted that we don’t see these diseases, but as more and more people miss their vaccine, the world is a very small place. We’ve learned this with COVID, right? Travel and disease spread, and then we could see these diseases that we haven’t seen in decades," said Perno. "The last thing we want to do is see these come back."
Perno reminds parents you get a lot of vaccines as a young child, so when you fall behind, it could take a while to catch up. For children who may have missed a routine immunization, Dr. Perno said call your pediatrician to get back on track.
“It’s so critical to keep the kids on schedule, and young children, so many of them protect you against what we would consider routine illnesses, and it could put their lives in danger from something that there’s just no need to," said Perno.