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Risks of Delaying Vaccinations During Pandemic

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September 23, 2020 0 1 minute, 46 seconds read
S. K Arora
Principal Consultant - Paediatrics
Paediatric (Ped)

India and the rest of the world have been confronted with an unprecedented health emergency in the form of COVID-19 pandemic. Various routine immunization programs whether Government or Private healthcares have been impacted leading to delayed immunization. The delay in immunization has been unavoidable due to lockdown and the fear of contracting the virus. This will a­ffect lakhs of children as they may be unvaccinated/partially vaccinated. Delay of a vaccine dose may impact the schedule of the subsequent doses, making the child susceptible to a disease which they would be protected from, if vaccinated.

Ignoring routine immunization may nullify the significant gains made in prevention of vaccine preventable diseases like Polio and Measles. This can have a disastrous e­ffect and cause outbreak in the community. This can also pose a threat to India’s polio free status given the recent outbreaks in South East Asia and circulating wild Polio in Pakistan and Afghanistan. There is no documented risk of immunizing a healthy child during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Routine vaccinations should not be delayed because of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Hospitals and Doctors have to take special precautions like:

  • Recommended to have exclusive vaccination sessions and or exclusive vaccination room (which may be possible in a bigger setting or hospital).
  • Essential to perform triaging of patients and segregate those with fever and respiratory symptoms.
  • Preferable to give vaccinations by appointment only .essential to stagger appointments to reduce overcrowding.
  • It is essential to screen accompanying individuals for fever and respiratory symptoms.
  • Any caretaker having cough, cold, or fever should be advised not to accompany the child. Social distancing at all times must be maintained.
  • Aggressive infection control measure in the clinic/office like sanitization.
  • Essential that the doctor and supporting staff­ utilize adequate personal protective equipment, a surgical mask and gloves along with scrupulous hand hygiene.
  • Well-baby visits may be combined with immunization.
  • More than one vaccine can be given in one setting to avoid frequent visits.
  • It may be useful to do Video consultation before or after vaccination to answer the queries one may have to reduce face to face time during vaccination visit.

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