The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted our health and well-being beyond the damage caused by the virus, with profound implications across the US healthcare system. In nearly every community, elective surgeries have been postponed and routine healthcare has been delayed, including vaccinations. While routines have changed and we all adjust to a new normal, some things have not changed—individuals of all ages, from newborn babies to older adults, need to stay up-to-date on recommended vaccinations. Vaccine-preventable diseases have not gone away, but they can be prevented with safe and effective vaccines.
However, amid overwhelmed US healthcare systems and fears of contracting COVID-19, routine vaccination rates declined significantly across all age groups in the US, with demand plummeting as much as 95 percent for certain vaccines. These declining rates are dangerous to public health—the US can no longer delay life-saving vaccines and must address the concerning decline in vaccination rates.
In this edition of the Schaffner Report, NFID Medical Director William Schaffner, MD, talks with NFID Executive Director and CEO Marla Dalton, CAE, about a new campaign, Keep Up The Rates, that NFID launched in partnership with more than 85 leading public health organizations, to encourage all individuals to receive recommended vaccines that may have been delayed in recent months due to the COVID-19 pandemic:
There are steps that everyone can take to help keep up the rates for all recommended vaccines during the COVID-19 pandemic:
- Consumers can talk to a healthcare professional about recommended vaccines to ensure that they (and their families) are up-to-date—immunizations can help protect communities and vulnerable populations by helping to reduce the risk of exposure to serious and deadly infectious diseases.
- Healthcare professionals can promote vaccinations at every interaction with patients, from an annual physical to a routine cardiology appointment. By leveraging these opportunities, all healthcare professionals play a key role in working to keep up the rates.
- Advocacy organizations can amplify messages to stakeholders promoting the importance of timely vaccinations. With declines in vaccination rates across the board, individuals of all ages need to be reminded about the value of vaccines.
Help spread the word by sharing these public service announcements (available in English and Spanish):
To join the conversation and get the latest news on infectious diseases, follow NFID on Twitter using the hashtag #KeepUpTheRates, like us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram, join the NFID LinkedIn Group, and subscribe to receive future NFID Updates.
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