CINCINNATI — New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show children are lagging behind in routine immunizations, and a local doctor said this could cause some level of herd immunity to be lost to these illnesses.
"I think the concern is that we will lose a degree of herd immunity that we have for a lot of these conditions," said Dr. Joshua Schaffzin, the director of infection control and prevention at Cincinnati Children's Hospital. "What we know is that if we can keep levels high of our vaccinations, among in terms of percent of population, then we can protect the whole population."
The CDC reports that administered doses of the tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis (T-Dap) vaccine fell last spring by about 66% in children ages 9-12. The number of HPV vaccines given to teens also fell about 71%. Schaffzin thinks the lower vaccination numbers were caused by doctors' offices closing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Those numbers went up slightly in the fall, but Schaffzin said they didn't "catch up" to where vaccination levels need to be.
"This is a trend that parents and providers have an opportunity to reverse," Schaffzin said. "There's a lot that we have to catch up from. Now that we're trying to cope through COVID, we're hopefully recovering for the most part."
Schaffzin also said children may have missed developmental screenings and recommends scheduling a visit with your child's pediatrician — even if your child is not feeling sick — before the start of the school year.