Vaccinations in Ohio children down 45 percent during pandemic, expert says

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WJW)– The number of children in Ohio receiving their vaccinations is down 45 percent during the coronavirus pandemic compared to the same time last year.

That’s according to Dr. Sara Bode, primary care pediatrician and the medical director of Nationwide Children’s Hospital’s Care Connection School-Based Health and Mobile Clinics. She spoke about the issue during Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s news conference on Tuesday.

“During this time of COVID-19, we’ve seen a very sharp decline since March in the number of kids that have come in for vaccinations across the state,” Bode said.

Franklin County saw a drop of 8,000 childhood vaccines per month for March and April, Bode said. In the Nationwide Children’s Hospital health system, about 1,000 children receive the measles vaccines on average each month. In April, that number was just 32, the doctor said.

“Vaccines are critical to prevent disease and outbreaks. We know this through recent outbreaks of measles, mumps and chickenpox. Those are reminders for how important this is for children,” Bode told the governor as she appeared at the news conference via video.

Now, doctors and hospitals across Ohio are trying to catch up on these vaccinations to close the gap.

Bode said pediatric offices are open and safe, with staff spacing out well-child appointments and using appropriate personal protective equipment.

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