The worldwide Covid-19 pandemic has created massive economic disruption, loss of life, educational challenges, and social warfare between those feeling the need to protect themselves and their families from disease and those who want to live their lives as they always have without masks or restrictions on social gatherings. Adding to this list is a growing health crisis for children, as the WHO and the United Nations both are reporting alarming declines in childhood vaccinations due to system breakdowns caused by the Corona virus spread. For the first time in 28 years, there has been an alarming decrease in the number of children receiving DPT3, the vaccines against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis, which is a marker for immunization coverage. The organizations are also reporting that at least 30 vaccination programs against measles across the world have been cancelled, or are at risk of being cancelled because of the pandemic.
Vaccines are the most powerful tools in the history of public health. “The avoidable suffering and death caused by children missing out on routine immunizations could be far greater than Covid-19 itself,” according to the Director of the World Health Organization. UNICEF said, “We cannot trade one health crisis for another.”
Speaking of vaccines, with all the hype being directed at developing a vaccine against Covid-19, you have to wonder how many people will avail themselves of it once it comes on the market. Besides the cost considerations if the greed of the pharma developers are left uncontrolled, there remains that seemingly growing segment of our population that doesn’t believe in vaccines of any kind. It seems a shame that diseases don’t seem to care about your individual beliefs. They are willing to infect you, your families and your neighbors, even when they don’t share your views.