Unintended consequence of COVID-19: Fewer parents taking kids to get immunized
VANCOUVER -- Fewer parents have been taking their kids for routine immunization because of COVID-19 restrictions — but that's raising the risk that other diseases could start to spread.
For weeks, people in Canada have been told to stay home as much as possible.
“Understandably, there's a concern with many parents about going to clinics at this time,” said Ian Roe with the BCCDC.
Many clinics are still open, although with modifications such as only allowing one adult to go instead of both parents.
With fewer people are taking their kids to get their shots, the risk of outbreaks of other preventable diseases is growing.
“We've had this much of an issue with one disease (COVID-19) where we don't have a vaccine for, we don't want to have this occur with more than one disease,” he said. “One outbreak, certainly is enough to deal with at one time.”
So far, the BCCDC hasn’t seen any major outbreaks of other infectious diseases, such as measles, because most people are already immunized, Roe said.
Polio survivor Barbara Mary Jo has seen first-hand the devastation a fast-spreading virus can have.
“I was an infant when I had polio but basically, it's affected my health and my mobility virtually all my life. When I was a small child, I spent long periods with surgeries and doing rehab at BC Children's Hospital,” she told CTV News.
She said she doesn’t want to see preventable diseases impact other lives, especially since there’s a vaccine for many of them.
“There are many childhood illnesses that were really common when I was a child,” she said. “People got chickenpox, people got measles and mumps, and we've come a long way in my lifetime.”
I Boost Immunity, a B.C.-based health initiative that highlights the importance of vaccinations, has also added new information about the coronavirus.
Roed said during this time when many parents are homeschooling their kids, it can be an opportunity to learn about immunization through credible sources.
There is an added benefit of helping children in developing countries. For every article shared and quiz that’s passed, a vaccine will be donated to a child through UNICEF.
“They’re learning locally and earning a vaccine globally,” Roed said.
So far, more than 755,770 vaccines have been donated since March 2016.