Childhood vaccinations have plunged since the Covid-19 pandemic started hitting the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday.
The CDC reported a “notable decrease” in the number of vaccines ordered through a federal program that immunizes half of all kids in the US.
Unvaccinated or under-vaccinated children will be at risk of other infectious diseases besides coronavirus, the CDC cautioned.
“The decline began the week after the national emergency declaration; similar declines in orders for other vaccines were also observed,” the CDC’s Dr. Jeanne Santoli and colleagues reported.
“As social distancing requirements are relaxed, children who are not protected by vaccines will be more vulnerable to diseases such as measles," the CDC added.
The American Academy of Pediatrics sounded an alarm about the report.
“Immunizing infants, children and adolescents is important, and should not be delayed,” Dr. Sally Goza, president of the AAP, said in a statement.
“I’m also concerned that children who have missed vaccines have also missed other health care that occurs during those visits, including physical exams, developmental screenings, and other important care that should not be delayed," Goza said.
The group said pediatricians should be doing all they can to encourage parents to bring children in for vaccinations and other important visits, including separating sick children from well children and reaching out to remind families to make appointments.