SEATTLE – The Washington State Department of Health has observed a significant reduction in the number of children vaccinated over the past two months.
State health experts say children still need vaccines on time, even during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, The Seattle Times reported Tuesday.
About 30% fewer children were vaccinated in March and around 40% fewer in April compared to the average number of vaccinations of children given during the months between 2015 and 2019, the health ministry said.
Officials worry that infants and other children will not be well protected against diseases such as measles and pertussis, also known as coughs, state health official Dr. Kathy Lofy.
“The reduction in vaccination increases the risk that we can see an outbreak of disease that can be prevented by vaccines,” Lofy said.
John Dunn, director of preventive maintenance at Kaiser Permanente Washington, said people usually do not experience diphtheria or measles effects because they received the vaccine years ago.
Not seeing the disease directly is not a reason for parents to think vaccination can be bypassed during a health crisis like the new coronavirus, Dunn said.
The most recent example in the state of Washington is the measles outbreak that made more than 70 people sick last year in Clark County, where only 85% of kindergartners received measles, mumps and rubella vaccines.
Nearly all district cases are in children and people who are not immunized, with 93% of cases involving patients between the ages of 1 and 18 years.
For most people, new coronaviruses cause mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that go away in two to three weeks. For some people, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, can cause more severe illnesses, including pneumonia and death. Most people recover.
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