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Child vaccine declines amid COVID-19 shutdowns could lead to outbreaks of illnesses

Economic shutdowns implemented to slow the spread of the coronavirus may indirectly lead to outbreaks of other deadly diseases in the coming months, health experts are warning (Source: “COVID shutdowns may lead to outbreaks of measles, mumps as childhood vaccinations decline,” Columbus Dispatch, Oct. 10).

With more people staying home, fewer children got their vaccines for dangerous diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella and pertussis this year.

More than 90% of people need to be vaccinated for a disease to establish herd immunity and prevent an outbreak. In April, pediatric vaccines dropped by more than 45% across Ohio compared to April 2019, according to the state’s Immunization Registry.

And if outbreaks of measles or other diseases occur, Ohio and its health departments could be at a disadvantage financially and manpower-wise. Health departments in Ohio receive less state and federal funding for emergency preparedness than nearly every other state and the District of Columbia, according to HPIO analysis. The state ranks 48th for emergency preparedness dollars per capita in HPIO’s 2019 Health Value Dashboard.