Public health officials in Pennsylvania are concerned about falling childhood vaccination rates

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Childhood immunization rates across the country and the Commonwealth have fallen from pre-COVID levels, according to the report Pennsylvania Department of Health.

“In particular, rubella and measles are very contagious. So the fewer people who get vaccinated, the more likely it is that these types of viruses will spread,” said Kaitlyn Hoffman, UPMC Certified Nurse Practitioner.

The decline in immunizations is worrying health officials as more and more people choose not to vaccinate their children.

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“Overall vaccination rates are down about 1% nationwide, which doesn’t sound like much but is actually quite high,” Hoffman said.

Pennsylvania is no different. Statewide data from the Pennsylvania Department of Health shows that vaccination rates for preventable diseases like polio and measles have fallen over the past two years.

“Rubella, especially measles, is very contagious. So the fewer people who get vaccinated, the more likely it is that these types of viruses will spread,” Hoffman said.

What was originally a fear is now becoming a reality.

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“Measles itself has increased significantly, in 2021 there were about 49 cases and last year we had 118,” Hoffman added.

Even polio, thought to be eradicated in 1979, had a case in New York last fall.

“The concern is also that there are some people who cannot legitimately get vaccinated for medical reasons, so the people who cannot get vaccinated are at even greater risk because they rely on the rest of us protecting them,” Hoffman said.

Health experts say the reason for the drop in vaccinations is likely related to misinformation.

“We also have a decrease in routine doctor’s visits where we typically talk about vaccines, education and vaccinating children,” Hoffman said.

The most important aspect of this is to push the parents to learn.

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“It’s really protecting not only you, but your family and your community,” Hoffman concluded.

https://www.abc27.com/local-news/health-officials-concerned-about-falling-vaccination-rates-in-kids/ Public health officials in Pennsylvania are concerned about falling childhood vaccination rates

Brian Ashcraft

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