Nation sees significant decrease in childhood vaccinations during COVID-19 era, new report shows
Blue Cross Blue Shield Association Health of America data raises concerns of losing herd immunity against measles, whooping cough and polio
A new report shows that a result of delayed medical care from the COVID-19 pandemic is potentially creating another long-term public health risk. The latest Health of America report from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) reveals that millions of children nationwide have missed routine vaccinations this year—a nearly 26 percent decrease compared to 2019. The significant drop means communities could be at greater risk of outbreaks of highly contagious diseases like polio, measles and whooping cough.
As COVID-19 cases increase across the country, communities are encouraged to continue physical distancing, wearing masks and taking other measures to help slow the virus’s spread. Individuals and families are also encouraged to “Stop Medical Distancing” and safely get needed care for long-term health. Since the pandemic started, health care providers have set up protocols to keep patients safe, and to increase access to care, childhood vaccinations may also be available at your local pharmacy.
As of September 2020, the BCBSA report found that 40 percent of parents report their children have missed vaccinations due to COVID-19. Each person’s situation differs given varying comfort levels with the risk of infection and serious illness from COVID-19. Parents of children who are due for vaccinations are encouraged to contact their doctors or pharmacists to discuss options.
Immunizations are a key part of preventive care and are covered at no cost to members under most health plans. Regence members can review their health plan benefits by signing in to regence.com, or by calling Regence Customer Service using the phone number on the back of their member ID card.