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Vaccination Rates Drop During Pandemic

Medical Syringes for vaccines
Jernej Furman
Flickr Creative Commons

In August, Public Health Dayton and Montgomery County reported that child vaccination rates were trending down because of the coronavirus pandemic. But new data suggests vaccination rates are going back up - especially as some students are returning to the classroom.

In the early months of the pandemic, Dr. Sara Guerrero-Duby, a pediatrician at Dayton Children's Hospital, says some communities reported a 50 percent decrease in vaccination rates.

“Generally around 80, 85 percent of children get their vaccines completed by three years of age. So if we imagine that we dropped that 50 percent, only 40 some percent of children were getting their vaccines appropriately during the height of the quarantine," she says.

Ohio requires all 7th grade students, and all returning 12th graders, get mandatory vaccinations against pertussis and meningitis. And that’s true for all students, whether they’re in a physical classroom or a virtual one. Dr. Guerrero-Duby says health officials are now worried about the potential for a so-called twindemic later this fall and winter if too many people also get the regular flu.

"So, we don't have a COVID vaccine. We do have an influenza vaccine. And we certainly strongly encourage people to get the influenza vaccine even more this year than in previous years."

The pediatrician says children that missed vaccinations during the pandemic should get back on their regular schedule as soon as possible to avoid outbreaks of other preventable diseases.