AS MANY PEOPLE in the US focus on vaccinating themselves or their loved ones COVID-19, health care providers and government officials raise red flags for another emergency vaccine issue: a significant drop in child shootings.
At a recent conference, Dr Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the CDC's guidelines for childhood immunizations had dropped by nearly 11 million doses during the epidemic. Representatives of the CDC later explained to US News that data from the end of February shows the total orders for vaccines for children without flu vaccines made through the CDC's Vaccines for Children program has dropped by 11 million compared to 2020-2021 and 2019- 2020.
"When planning your child's safe return to child care programs or on his or her return from school, please refer to your child's doctor to make sure they are up to date with their immunizations," Walesnsky urged parents, pointing out that the CDC has a catch-up schedule for children His call to action came about a month after the CDC introduced its first guideline under Biden management to open schools safely.
"As we work to get our children back to school, we do not want to be exposed to other preventable diseases such as measles and mumps," Walensky said.
This is not the first time concerns have been raised about the epidemic's disruption to care that causes children to fall behind in standard vaccinations.
A provincial report last May revealed that the general immunization rate for children had dropped dramatically at the start of the epidemic. In September, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said preliminary data showed that few children enrolled in Medicaid and the Child Health Insurance Program received immunizations and other medical services in the first months of the epidemic, although enrollment in the two programs had increased. Data from March to May 2020 showed a decrease of 1.7 million - or 22% - in beneficiary targets by 2 years and a decrease of 3.2 million, or 44%, in child screening activities compared to the same period in 2019.
According to the CDC, there has been a significant decrease in visits to pediatric patients since the outbreak began last year. Along with those came a drop in orders for providers of immunizations for children. Among the list of childhood vaccines, the CDC is deeply concerned about the reduction of orders for vaccines containing measles such as measles, measles and rubella. Orders for such guns through the Vaccines for Children program have been reduced by 1.4 million, or 21.3%. Orders for HPV drugs decreased by 21%, while those for anti-retroviral drugs, diphtheria and pertussis decreased by 21.1%.
Yet similar to the increase in enrollment in Medicaid and CHIP, representatives of the CDC say eligibility "is undoubtedly increased during the Vaccines for Children program, which provides free vaccines to children whose families cannot afford to pay, possibly because their parents are not guaranteed. According to figures from The Commonwealth Fund, approximately 7 million people in the U.S. They may have lost their employer-sponsored health insurance due to job losses early in the epidemic.
"Ensuring children are up to date with the recommended vaccines will help keep them safe as we plan to study indoors," a CDC spokesman told the U.S. News.
The American Academy of Pediatrics, which released 2021 vaccination schedules in February, says disruption in any part of the general immunization program for children and adolescents is worrying.
"The vaccination program is carefully and thoughtfully prepared and reviewed by infectious disease specialists in the CDC and the AAP," said AAP President Dr. Lee Savio Beers.
A pediatrician in Washington, D.C., Beers says he has seen a decline in the number of children coming to visit early in the epidemic. Now, a year later, he says AAP members report a slight return to normal care, but visits have not returned to normal levels.
Beer says it would be unfortunate to see an outbreak of a vaccine-stemmed disease due to the low prevalence of the vaccine. In 2019, the US saw nearly 1,300 cases of measles, indicating the highest number in the country since 1992. Most of the cases took place among people who were not vaccinated, and the illness led to the banning and cancellation of school activities in the tropics of Washington state and New York City.
Beers said the AAP focused on educating parents last year on the importance of keeping their children involved in their goals. In May, the center launched a social media campaign encouraging pediatricians to share the hashtag #CallYourPediatrician and educational materials on the importance of vaccinating their children and visiting a pediatrician.
“I think our most important role is to help parents understand that pediatric offices are the safest places to go,” Beers said. "The institutions have gone further to ensure that their offices are safe for families."
Dr. Jesse Hackell, a pediatrician in Pomona, New York, and Boston Children's Health Physicians, says that safety is a number 1 priority and is the key to getting children back in the office.
"Not only do they (the families) know that the offices are safe, but show it," he said. At Hackell's center, he said, they aimed to separate sick children and healthy children, each being brought through separate departments. And there is no waiting area.
"We just limit the contacts. They stay in the car until we find a room they are ready for," Hackell said.