NEW YORK - Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the number of children being vaccinated in New York City has dropped more than 60 percent during the COVID-19 pandemic, with the number rising to 90 percent for children over two years old.
“This is essential work. Getting your child vaccinated is essential work,” De Blasio said on Wednesday, echoing the concerns of doctors across the nation.
Over the same six-week period in 2019, De Blasio said that over 400,000 vaccinations had been given out to children, while this year, fewer than 150,000 children have been vaccinated, a 63 percent drop.
“If we allow children to delay the vaccine schedule by too much, we might see a re-emergence or re-uptick of diseases that we haven’t seen in a long time,” said Dr. Sara Siddiqui, a pediatrician with NYU Langone-Huntington Medical Group.
Those diseases are illnesses like measles and whooping cough, both of which can be prevented by vaccines.
Moreover, it’s not just children, it’s adults not going to the doctor as well.
“Colonoscopies are down 90 percent, and people always have an excuse not to come in for a colonoscopy, but mammograms are down 80 to 90 percent as well,” said Dr. John Whyte, the Chief Medical Director of WebMD. “For many people, your risk of having a serious complication from not having a condition managed well, such as high blood pressure or heart disease, is much greater than your risk of catching coronavirus and having a serious complication from that.”
Pediatricians say that they are concerned that, if summer camps are canceled and schools do not open in the fall, parents will not be pushed to make sure their children have up-to-date vaccinations, potentially exacerbating the problem.