Healthbeat: Should I still get my normal vaccinations?

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WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — Concern about our nation’s healthcare infrastructure has been paramount because of the COVID-19 pandemic. But there are other infectious diseases that represent a serious risk unless necessary precautions are taken.

Many of those other infectious diseases are considered preventable because of what COVID-19 currently lacks: a proven vaccine. But the problem is the pandemic has caused another serious health threat because of skipped vaccinations.

Long lines for an early October drive-thru flu clinic are proof that a lot of us consider getting a flu vaccine a priority. However, when it comes to getting routine vaccinations for such infectious diseases as measles, mumps and chicken pox many families have let them slide. How many? Consider the data surrounding children in the U.S.

“We have had anywhere from a 10 to 20 percent drop in vaccination rates,” National Foundation For Infectious Diseases Medical Director William Schaffner, MD, said.

And it’s not just kids. When it comes to older adults, Dr. Schaffner points out a skipped vaccine that really stands out.

“The vaccination against pneumonia, the pneumococcal vaccine, that’s gone down in adults and that’s a good companion vaccine to get while you’re getting your influenza vaccine if you’re eligible,” Dr. Schaffner said.

Dr. Schaffner’s encouraging words aren’t the only way the NFID hopes to boost the number of vaccinations. A new campaign called “Keep Up The Rates” encourages all individuals to receive recommended vaccines put on hold during the pandemic.

“And so we want to get our communities back to those high levels of protection that we had before, even higher,” Dr. Schaffner said.

The health of our communities and our nation as a whole is at stake as we simultaneously battle the threat of COVID-19 and other contagions.

“Check your vaccination history. There may be other vaccines that you need,” Dr. Schaffner said.

You can learn more about the “Keep Up The Rates” campaign aimed at preventing infectious disease outbreaks.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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