Blog: Consequences of a Crisis—Vaccination Rates Down

The coronavirus has captured our attention, but staying up to date on routine immunizations remains important.

For months many of us have been hunkering down at home, wearing a mask in public, and maintaining a respectful social distance, per the recommendations of public health experts to quell the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). One consequence is that many have postponed routine medical appointments.

The number of vaccinations ordered by physicians dropped steeply after the national emergency was declared on March 13, reports Vaccines for Children—a CDC program that distributes vaccines at no cost to children who may otherwise go unvaccinated. Globally, WHO also reports a decline in vaccination rates when compared to 2019—affecting as many as 80 million children. Outbreaks of vaccine preventable diseases “will also overwhelm health systems already battling the impacts of COVID-19,” the WHO notes.

The coronavirus has captured our attention, but the value of routine immunizations is well documented. The WHO estimates vaccines save between 2-3 million lives each year. Staying up to date on routine immunizations is important both to reduce the resurgence of these preventable diseases as well as their impact on health care facilities already stressed by the coronavirus crisis.

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