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Association of School Nurses urges parents to prep for school now, including required immunizations

The Plain Dealer  Cleveland logo The Plain Dealer Cleveland 6/2/2020 By Emily Bamforth, cleveland.com

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Even though the future of in-person schooling is still in question for the fall, the Association of School Nurses advises scheduling wellness checks and required immunizations ahead of time.

The coronavirus pandemic, along with shutting down schools, led hospitals to advise delay of any non-essential visits. As case numbers began to stabilize and the state slowly began to lift restrictions, health care professionals worried about patients still fearing the hospital and skipping out on crucial in-person procedures.

The CEOs of the Cleveland Clinic and MetroHealth both expressed in a City Club forum this month a concern for childhood immunizations. Postponing those visits too long -- or skipping them entirely -- could lead to challenges to herd immunity, or the concept that a high percentage of immunizations in a population will stop a disease from spreading rapidly.

The New York Times recently cited a survey by the pediatric electronic health records company PCC that found during the week of April 5, the administration of measles, mumps and rubella shots dropped by 50 percent; diphtheria and whooping cough shots by 42 percent; and HPV vaccines by 73 percent.

A report published on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website showed a steady drop in ACIP-recommended noninfluenza childhood vaccines and for measles-containing vaccines after a national emergency was declared on March 13.

Some immunizations are required by the state of Ohio, including vaccines for polio, chicken pox, measles/mumps/rubella, hepatitis B and diphtheria/tetanus/pertussis for students entering kindergarten, according to the association’s press release.

Waiting until in-person classes are confirmed in the fall could lead to difficulty scheduling a doctor’s appointment, the release states.

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