PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — With everyone in the public health community so focused on coronavirus, could we see a resurgence in vaccine-preventable diseases?
Diseases such as measles, mumps, pertussis, and many more.
“You need to maintain these vaccines because there are other things out there that we have to make sure your kids don’t get,” says pediatrician Dr. Joseph Aracri of AHN Pediatric Alliance.
“I do worry about it because, in fact, these vaccine-preventable diseases have not yet gone away,” says Children’s Hospital Of Pittsburgh pediatric infectious diseases physician Dr. Marian Michaels.
With some routine pediatric visits postponed, scheduled immunizations could be delayed.
This is risky because kids younger than 2 years old still need to come in for check-ups.
“We bring them in at separate times. Our mornings are open only for well children. Nobody waits in the waiting room,” says Dr. Aracri.
“It’s particularly important for their primary series, getting that 2 months, 4 months, 6 months. If they’re a week off, if they are two weeks off, that’s not going to be life and death. But if they’re two months off, three months off, that’s a problem,” says Dr. Michaels.
Vaccine drives in other parts of the world are on hold, which could put the U.S. at risk once travel restrictions are lifted.
“We have to make sure our population is fully vaccinated, so you have herd immunity to protect the whole population,” Dr. Aracri says.
“If we have herd immunity, even if someone brings in measles, we should have a robust population that is immune,” Dr. Michaels says.
Social distancing can help reduce the spread of some of these infections.
“Once we relax social distancing, remember, these things are out there,” Dr. Aracri reminds.
Recent measles outbreaks have been small, but if vaccination coverage fails, these could become much larger.