WAYNE – A northeast Nebraska immunization program continues despite the COVID-19 situation as a recent statement was posted for the importance of routine vaccination.
According to a release from Northeast Nebraska Community Action Partnership (NENCAP), data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show the decline in routine vaccinations raises concern for two reasons. The first being the drop in coverage rates increases vulnerability to disease outbreaks, putting children at risk and also the lack of routine care at pediatrician offices could erode healthcare infrastructure in the long term.
The drop in routine vaccination is not unexpected given the threat of COVID-19 and resulting stay-at-home orders as parents are choosing to keep their healthy children at home. NENCAP officials state it’s reassuring that CDC as well as state and local public health agencies are closely monitoring vaccine uptake and have picked up on this concerning trend in time to allow for corrective action.
The NENCAP Immunization Program will be holding an Immunization Clinic on Thursday, July 16 in Wayne by appointment. The clinic will be located at the United Methodist Church at 516 N Main St. and last from 9:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. To schedule an appointment or obtain more information, call 402-385-6300 or 1-800-445-2505. The program accepts uninsured, under-insured, Medicaid and Private insurance as no one will be denied immunization for inability to pay.
Public health and private providers are working together to provide this reassurance. Providers are adapting to social distancing guidance and creating safe environments for care, such as curbside vaccinations, separate well-child hours and telehealth to treat illness. Public health entities are working with state chapters of the American Academy of Pediatrics, local coalitions, businesses and others to get the word out to parents that vaccinations are essential. If a child is due for a vaccine, parents should not cancel; they should call their provider. Public health and providers are also working to implement reminder/recall activities to get kids who have missed vaccines caught up.
History tells us that too much delay can put communities at risk. When health systems are overwhelmed, deaths from vaccine-preventable and treatable conditions can also increase dramatically. For example, during the 2014-2015 Ebola outbreak, deaths caused by measles, malaria, HIV and tuberculosis exceeded deaths from Ebola. These deaths were attributable to health system failures. Although we need to remain vigilant, we’ve had high coverage rates and low disease rates for many years for a reason: we have strong systems in place to ensure on-time vaccination of children aged 0-18, including the federal Vaccines for Children program.