(WTNH) — A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirms that children are still behind when it comes to routine vaccinations. So, while the demand for a vaccine that will protect young children is heightened, it’s not the only thing that doctors are worried about.
“Particularly because many children have missed routine visits over the course of the pandemic,” explained Dr. Thomas Murray, a pediatric infectious disease doctor at Yale Medicine.
According to the CDC, the rates of routine vaccination among children and teens dropped off significantly in 2020. What’s also disappointing, even after COVID-19 stay-at-home orders were lifted, vaccination rates didn’t catch up to pre-pandemic levels, according to the report.
A number of factors likely led to the decline in 2020, including a fear of the unknown.
“Early on it wasn’t clear how to provide safe care to well children, and people who were not sick,” Dr. Murray said.
“Now we know a lot more about how to carefully care for individuals and allow them to come to different offices for care safely, and receive those vaccinations.“
Being behind means many haven’t been vaccinated for things like measles and whooping cough. Dr. Murray said the CDC has excellent guidance on when vaccines are delayed and how to play catch-up.
“It’s particularly important because if you think back before the pandemic, if you can remember a time back then, we actually had measles in New Haven in 2019, and we had several cases of measles. There was even an outbreak tied to Disneyland in California. So these are real diseases that we’ve just kind of lost sight of because of the COVID pandemic.”
What still isn’t clear, according to Dr. Murray, is if the Delta variant will hit young children particularly hard. He said children make up a larger percentage of COVID cases right now, “although you expect that because they are a huge reservoir of unvaccinated people,” he said.