Area students are heading back to school in some form beginning August 24th and the Iowa Department of Public Health has launched a childhood vaccination campaign to remind families to schedule annual physicals and back-to-school immunizations.
“Daily activities may have changed during the COVID-19 pandemic, but we should all maintain routine health care that keeps children and communities protected from vaccine-preventable diseases,” said Dr. Caitlin Pedati, a pediatrician and Iowa’s state medical director and state epidemiologist. “Healthcare providers have made office accommodations to protect you from potential COVID-19 exposures while providing safe and essential services to patients.”
“Please take the time now and schedule your family’s well child and immunization appointments so they are protected from other harmful diseases.”
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, well-child visits have declined significantly causing a delay in required and recommended immunizations.
According to a recent report from IDPH, there was a 55.5 percent decrease in the administration of non-influenza vaccines to children ages 4-18 years during March and April 2020 compared to the same months in 2019. April had a 75.0 percent decrease from the previous year, while March had a 37.1 percent decrease. Compared to other child and adult age categories, the largest percent differences were among 11-12 year olds and 13-18 year olds.
The Iowa Department of Public Health’s Immunization Program has released marketing materials to help promote the importance of childhood and flu vaccinations. Materials include web page graphics, social media images, posters, videos, and billboard files. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), recommends checking vaccination status and getting up-to-date as part of preparing to go back to school during COVID-19.
Up-to-date vaccinations are a requirement for school entry. Check with your child’s health care provider to make sure they have the required vaccines before classes resume. Iowa has healthier schools and healthier children when our communities stay up-to-date on vaccines.