Essentia Health Duluth Urges Childhood Immunizations Put Off Due to Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many inconveniences in our everyday lives. One thing it has lead to is people putting off regular doctor checkups for themselves and their family.
While it's understandable that in recent years many people have opted to avoid hospitals and clinics due to the pandemic, the related decline in preventive care is concerning to health professionals.
Essentia Health pediatricians have noticed that childhood immunization rates have dropped dramatically during the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, a significant number of young people have fallen behind schedule and aren’t receiving sufficient protection against preventable diseases such as influenza and measles.
According to Essentia Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported a 14% drop in “public sector vaccine ordering” among children in 2020-21 vs. 2019, and a 20% drop in measles vaccine ordering.
In Minnesota, 33.5% of 2-year-olds were not up to date on their vaccination series in 2021, compared to 25% in 2020 and 20.7% in 2019.
These numbers are of great concern as they could have long-term impacts on children’s health and, by extension, the health of our communities. This is especially true as more children return to in-person learning and other activities.
“We acknowledge the uncertainty and disruption COVID-19 has had on all of our lives; however, we must not ignore the health and well-being of our children and teens,” said Dr. Jonathan KenKnight, a pediatrician at Essentia. “Vaccines, along with routine preventive care, are an important way to ensure your child or teen is healthy and protected, as well as ensuring they are doing well both physically and emotionally.”
Essentia Health notes that vaccine schedules as recommended by organizations such as the CDC, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Physicians cover about 14 different diseases. It's estimated that vaccines will prevent an estimated 936,000 early deaths, eight million hospitalizations and 419 million illnesses.”
Essentia Health encourages parents across the Northland to contact their health care providers as soon as possible to ensure their family is up to date on health care recommendations.
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