CINCINNATI — Doctors say the coronavirus pandemic has fewer families keeping up with vaccines for their children.
Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center has seen a significant drop in vaccination rates, worrying health care professionals who are already struggling to keep up with COVID-19.
Dr. Tasha Johnson, a general pediatrician at Cincinnati Children’s, said vaccinations are always important for kids, but she warns a global pandemic is not the time to take any chances.
“It’s definitely important to get them vaccinated," she said. "Help keep your children safe, your family safe.”
Right now, doctors aren’t sure what would happen if a child gets sick with measles or mumps in addition to COVID-19.
“I think it would make you kind of sicker or just have more complications, but I don’t think we actually know the true effects if you were to have both,” she said.
According to Cincinnati Children’s, the pandemic has led to about a 20% drop in its vaccination rate, and between a 15-25% drop in children getting the MMR vaccine by 15 months old.
“This means, compared to years in the past, we would see more children and get more vaccinations for our population,” Johnson said. “But due to people not coming into the office and not getting those vaccinations we’re seeing a decline.”
Cincinnati Children’s and UC Health are holding vaccination events Saturday to try and catch families up. The vaccination event at Cincinnati Children’s runs from 9 a.m. to noon, and UC’s goes from noon to 4 p.m.
With hospitals and health care workers across the region straining to keep up with the spike in people catching COVID-19, Johnson said the last thing anyone wants is an outbreak of another illness.
“If we had another outbreak during the time we had this COVID outbreak it would definitely be more of a strain on our economic system, on the healthcare system,” Johnson said.
The first event is at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Pediatric Primary Care Center, 2nd Floor, 3430 Burnet Avenue. The second event is at the UC Health Hoxworth Clinic, 2nd Floor, 3130 Highland Avenue.
Patients are asked to attend whichever health system is their primary care provider, but the event is open to everyone; no one will be turned away.
Families are asked to wear masks and limit the number of people they bring to just a parent and children getting vaccines, if possible.