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Vaccination Rates Drop During Pandemic

Jernej Furman
Flickr Creative Commons

In August, Public Health Dayton and Montgomery County reported that child vaccination rates were trending down because of the coronavirus pandemic. But new data suggests vaccination rates are going back up - especially as some students are returning to the classroom.

In the early months of the pandemic, Dr. Sara Guerrero-Duby, a pediatrician at Dayton Children's Hospital, says some communities reported a 50 percent decrease in vaccination rates.

“Generally around 80, 85 percent of children get their vaccines completed by three years of age. So if we imagine that we dropped that 50 percent, only 40 some percent of children were getting their vaccines appropriately during the height of the quarantine," she says.

Ohio requires all 7th grade students, and all returning 12th graders, get mandatory vaccinations against pertussis and meningitis. And that’s true for all students, whether they’re in a physical classroom or a virtual one. Dr. Guerrero-Duby says health officials are now worried about the potential for a so-called twindemic later this fall and winter if too many people also get the regular flu.

"So, we don't have a COVID vaccine. We do have an influenza vaccine. And we certainly strongly encourage people to get the influenza vaccine even more this year than in previous years."

The pediatrician says children that missed vaccinations during the pandemic should get back on their regular schedule as soon as possible to avoid outbreaks of other preventable diseases.

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Jerry Kenney was introduced to WYSO by a friend and within a year of first tuning in became an avid listener and supporter. He began volunteering at the station in 1991 and began hosting Alpha Rhythms in February of 1992. Jerry joined the WYSO staff in 2007 as a host of All Things Considered and soon transitioned into hosting Morning Edition. In addition to now hosting All Things Considered, Jerry is the host and producer of WYSO Weekend, WYSO's weekly news and arts magazine. He has also produced several radio dramas for WYSO in collaboration with local theater companies. Jerry has won several Ohio AP awards as well as an award from PRINDI for his work with the WYSO news department. Jerry says that the best part of his job is being able to talk to people in the community and share their experiences with WYSO listeners.