COVID-19 impact: Columbiana County sees troubling trend in childhood vaccinations

Coronavirus

"You stop doing these vaccines and these [diseases] will come back," said Dr. John Cox, a local pediatrician

(WKBN) – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting a decline in childhood vaccinations. These include MMR, hepatitis, HPV and many others.

The Columbiana County General Health District has seen this decline. In 2020, health officials in the county vaccinated 518 children as compared to 735 in 2019.

“I really feel like it was everything was shut down so then it just kind of got put by the wayside,” said Laura Fauss from the Columbiana County General Health District.

Fauss also said a lot of the people who were giving out the childhood vaccines were pulled over to give COVID-19 vaccines when they became available.

“When you’re under 5-years-old, there’s nobody really monitoring the vaccine process. When you get into schools, they require certain vaccines, but under 5, that can kind of slip if the parents forget or they don’t get the notices or don’t realize when the schedule is,” Fauss said.

If the past year has disrupted a child’s vaccination process, there’s no need to worry. Dr. John Cox, a pediatrician at Wee Ones in Canfield, said parents just need to contact their pediatrician or the county health department and get back on track.

“These are diseases that used to harm children or were detrimental to the populous in the past,” Cox said. “You stop doing these vaccines and these things will come back.”

Cox said they haven’t seen a drop in their vaccines because they are a priority for the office since they deal with children’s health and they want to prevent these diseases. However, they have seen a decrease in sick visits, which is something he attributes to mask wearing.

“Doing this for 20 plus years, I’ve had zero effects of shots, zero, and we forget how bad these things used to be in the past,” Cox said. “Get a hold of your pediatricians and get caught back up if you’re behind. It’s very important.”

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