Remember Kid’s Immunizations in this COVID-19 Era

For release in August 2020

Contact: Ed Mund – 360-740-1227, ed.mund@lewiscountywa.gov

by Rachel Wood, M.D., MPH, Lewis County Health Officer

An underreported concern in this age of COVID-19 is the dramatic drop in parents getting their children immunized. Statewide pediatric immunization rates have been dropping the past few years anyway, but now in 2020, they’ve dropped off a cliff compared to previous 5-year averages.

The good news is that Lewis County is doing better than the statewide average. However, we’re still not where we should be to protect our children. State and national goals call for 90 percent of young children to be vaccinated against polio, measles, diphtheria, mumps, rubella, chickenpox hepatitis A and B, whooping cough, Hib, and pneumococcal disease. In the 2018-2019 school year, Lewis County only met or exceeded that mark with the polio vaccine.

In 2020, school closures, COVID-19, and people’s fears about going to clinics have impacted immunization rates. Data compiled by the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) show that in February through May 2020, monthly vaccines administered here in Lewis County for children from birth to age 18 were from 6.9 percent to as much as 19 percent below the previous five-year monthly averages.

I do hope these immunization deficits can be made up. Remember last year’s measles outbreak down in Clark County? The majority of the people who were sick had not been immunized against measles. People and entire communities suffered needlessly from that vaccine-preventable disease. Why risk a similar fate here?

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Posted: August 07, 2020