Vaccination is the single most effective medical treatment available – the one which has caused the biggest change in human life in modern times. Before vaccines, hundreds of thousands of children died each year. Since vaccines became available, the death of a child is a rare occasion.
As we all continue to stay at home, we are pinning our hopes on a vaccine so life can return to normal.
Unfortunately, ordinary medical care has been disrupted, including childhood vaccinations. As a result, many children are missing vaccinations they would have received at their routine well-baby and well-child exams. Additionally, since school opening has been postponed repeatedly, parents have not been reminded to get required vaccinations. The Oregon Health Authority is especially concerned that children are missing the MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) vaccination, and women of childbearing age are not getting the TDaP (Typhoid, Diphtheria and Pertussis) vaccination, which conveys immunity to the children they bear.
Oregonians have been getting other vaccines in a spotty fashion, too, and this is compared with an average year, when we would rank fairly low in getting vaccinations done – tied for 15th lowest state in the Union and not a rank to be proud of.
The Oregon Health Authority saw a 65 percent decrease in child wellness visits by May of this year. More concerning is the 50 percent decrease in vaccination appointments.
Nadine A. Gartner, founding executive director of Boost Oregon, seeks to educate Oregonians in the importance of vaccination.
“The impact could be devastating,” Gartner said. “Our public health departments are not prepared to deal with multiple pandemics at once. If we all of the sudden have to treat a large number of people for vaccine-preventable diseases that’s just going to further handicap our ability to defeat COVID.”
The lockdown was supposed to reduce the strain on medical facilities. If large numbers of people go unvaccinated, there could be waves of people infected with preventable illnesses with truly devastating results. Already, people are holding back from seeking care for other health issues, either out of a desire not to burden the care system or out of a fear of becoming infected with COVID. This lack of standard vaccinations could lead to trouble in the near future.
Boost Oregon is imploring you to get yourself and your children vaccinated.
John M. Burt