The coronavirus crisis is leading to an immunization crisis

The coronavirus crisis is leading to an immunization crisis

If you’d asked me when our baby was born in November how likely it was that I’d decide to delay his vaccinations against the doctor’s recommendations for several months, I’d have told you there was absolutely no chance. I report on global health; I know that the diseases vaccination has virtually eradicated in the US still take the lives of far too many children internationally. I know that those diseases can come roaring back in any community where vaccination rates dip. I know that some parents in impoverished parts of the world walk for days on foot in the hope of getting their children vaccinated, and I’m grateful to live in a country where — until a few months ago — I could take access to vaccines for granted. Our older child, now 3 years old, was vaccinated on schedule. That will not be the case for our second child, born last November. He got his four-month vaccinations two months late, and we’re not sure when he’ll get his next ones. And we’re not unique. Across the United States, there’s been a huge drop-off in vaccinations as coronavirus social distancing measures make people reluctant to leave the house and visit the doctor. Around the world, critical public health and vaccination programs have been canceled amid the pandemic. That sets us up for a potential public health disaster down the road. As the immunized share of the population drops, contagious and deadly childhood diseases — many of them already experiencing ...
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