Immunization rates among children appear to be dropping during the COVID-19 pandemic. This leaves children and communities at risk to other diseases.
Providers in Washington's Childhood Vaccine Program reported they administered 30 percent fewer vaccines to 0-18 year olds in March of this year compared with the same month in previous years. In April, preliminarily we are seeing a 42 percent decrease, but that number may change as April data continues to be reported.
The amount of vaccines ordered by providers in March also fell both in Washington state and nationwide.
"We are concerned that babies and kids aren't getting all the vaccines they need to protect them," said Washington State Department of Health Officer Dr. Kathy Lofy. "Decreasing vaccinations increases the risk that we could see an outbreak of a vaccine-preventable disease."
Parents and guardians should make an appointment right away for any immunizations their child has missed. Parents may be nervous about going into a clinic, but health care providers are making clinics safe for families to visit.