CARMEL, N.Y. - Health officials have a new concern resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.

While the practice of social or physical distancing has been quite effective in slowing the spread of that disease, there has been a significant decline in vaccination rates for the 14 preventable childhood diseases. The Putnam County Department of Health and other health experts at the CDC are among those sounding a nationwide alert for a significant decline in the number of children who received routine childhood immunizations. 

“We can look at two sets of numbers and see there has been a large decrease in the number of children receiving their routine vaccinations for all the preventable childhood illnesses,” said Dr. Michael J. Nesheiwat, Putnam County’s commissioner of health. “The first relates to vaccines being ordered by physicians through the Vaccines for Children program, and the second set of data is the number of vaccines given by eight large U.S. health care organizations.”

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The Vaccines for Children program administers approximately 50 percent of U.S. children aged 0 to 18 years. The decline in orders and administration began the week after the national emergency declaration.   

Parents of children who have fallen behind in childhood immunizations should contact their child’s physician to get back on track. If you child does not have a physician, PCDOH will be resuming vaccination clinics three times a month. Appointments are required and clinics will be conducted following all the required safety protocols, including social and physical distancing, face coverings or masks, and heightened disinfecting routines.

To schedule an appointment, call 845-808-1332. Clients will be instructed on the newest safety procedures, which will include calling from their car upon arrival. A member of the immunization team will greet them and take their temperature. A COVID health screening will be conducted, and the client will be escorted to the interview area, since the waiting area has been closed. With these new protocols in place, it is not too early to start thinking about any necessary vaccines that children may need for the upcoming school year.

For more information about childhood immunizations, visit www.putnamcountyny.com/health/immunization/.

Article courtesy of the Putnam County Health Department