COLUMBUS, OH — Ohio children are increasingly going unvaccinated because of fear of COVID-19.
Gov. Mike DeWine said the Buckeye State has seen a decrease in vaccinations to prevent measles, chickenpox, whooping cough and polio. The governor urged Ohio parents to not delay their child’s well-visit vaccinations.
“While we do not have a vaccine yet for COVID-19, we can prevent more than a dozen other diseases from harming our children and our communities,” DeWine said. “It is critical that Ohioans and providers remain vigilant about keeping children up to date on these vaccines.”
Dr. Chris Peltier, from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, joined DeWine during a news conference on Tuesday to discuss the importance of vaccines for children.
“As a result of the pandemic, vaccine rates are plummeting, not only in Ohio but across the country,” Peltier said.
Families were concerned about going to medical offices during the pandemic, Peltier said. That led to a steep decline in children receiving their routine vaccinations. With influenza season in its early stages, and the threat of a vaccine-preventable disease outbreak, Peltier said there is concern among medical officials about capacity to care for children.
The Ohio Department of Medicaid is launching a new initiative to encouraged childhood immunization. DeWine debuted one of the ads through his Twitter account.