OLYMPIA — Washington state health officials are worried because fewer children are getting immunized during the coronavirus pandemic, raising the potential for outbreaks of other diseases like measles.
On Friday authorities said providers in Washington’s Childhood Vaccine Program reported they administered 30% fewer vaccines to 0-18-year-olds in March of this year compared with the same month in previous years. In April, there was a 42% decrease, according to preliminary reports.
The decrease in Washington tracks with lower numbers nationally, and on Friday the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned of possible outbreaks of measles or other diseases preventable by vaccines.
“We are concerned that babies and kids aren’t getting all the vaccines they need to protect them,” Dr. Kathy Lofy, state health officer at the Washington State Department of Health, said in a statement. “Decreasing vaccinations increases the risk that we could see an outbreak of a vaccine-preventable disease.”