Child immunizations fall during pandemic in Pennsylvania

Written by on November 25, 2020

Child immunizations fall during pandemic in Pennsylvania 

By Julia Agos / WITF

November 30, 2020

Doctors are urging parents to keep all their child’s vaccinations up to date — now, more than ever. Karl Tapales/Getty Images

A healthcare provider in Pennsylvania is warning about a sharp drop in childhood immunizations.

Capital BlueCross has experienced a 19% decrease in medical claims for childhood vaccinations so far this year.

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A BlueCross BlueShield Association survey found 40% of parents attribute their child’s missed vaccinations to the coronavirus pandemic shutdown.

In the commonwealth, that amounts to about 17,000 missed doses for preventable diseases like measles, whooping cough and polio.

Doctor Jennifer Chambers, chief medical officer at Capital BlueCross, says she’s worried about the potential increased strain on the medical system.

“This is a very serious awakening for us to recognize that we have missed the opportunity to protect our children, to protect our population against something that’s preventable. We really should be focused right now on getting our kids into the doctors’ offices.”

Chambers says it’s a trend around the county as well — estimating nearly 9 million doses could be missed this year.

She is advising parents to consult their pediatrician on the best way to get their child’s vaccinations up to date.

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