Immunisation dip making children more vulnerable: Docs
New Delhi: Medical experts in the national Capital have said that post-Covid-19 outbreak, the number of immunisations has come down incredibly, risking the children, especially newborns to various diseases. Post lockdown the vaccination services were shut, however even as the services have resumed doctors say parents are scared to come to the hospital, this will, they say, make their children more vulnerable.
Speaking on the same, Dr Manish Mannan Head of Department at Paediatrics & Neonatology at Paras Hospital said, "In April, May and June there was a significant decrease, which was less than 50 per cent. But gradually around August and September people have started coming out. In October, I gave some vaccines which were given to me in February. There are a lot of people whose children's vaccine is due and they have very conveniently ignored it. The vaccine which is available at least should be given to their child. I am being asked about the covid vaccine, which we have no idea about. So a strong message needs to go out that vaccination cannot be missed and they should be given on time."
However, for Ritika, a mother to 6 month-old Aditya, the situation was totally different. "Getting my child vaccinated was a nightmare. Private clinics and hospitals had turned us away and once my child had fever, the doctor refused to examine the child.
A parent, no matter whether in the urban or rural belt, knows about the importance of vaccination, so to say we parents are not coming out of fear is something I don't agree with," she said.
Meanwhile, Dr Sufla Saxena, Consultant, Paediatric Gastroenterology and Hepatology at Manipal Hospital has said that they saw 70 per cent decline in the number of vaccinations. "We are seeing a decline in the number of routine vaccinations. Initially, it was the fear of getting into the hospitals but in the last month we are witnessing a little improvement, this is before we entered the peak. There was a decline as people were not regular."
She also said that every child has to follow their immunisation schedule because in six months' time, vaccines need to be given in one dose only. "There shouldn't be a COVID fear as flu and asthma season has started so it is important to get children to get these and their routine vaccinations," she added.
Dr Meena J, Senior Consultant — Paediatrician at Neonatologist at Aakash Healthcare — Super Specialty Hospital, meanwhile, said that things started improving after proper guidelines were issued by the government regarding vaccinations. "Our guidelines were updated, where we could postpone a few vaccines like typhoid and for children who were two years of age considering the risk of COVID," she said, adding that post lockdown, however, there was a drop in vaccinations among all ages.
"The first year of vaccination is primary vaccination that is very important because if you lose that then there are more chances of catching infections," she added.
Medical experts have raised concerns about diseases like flu and asthma among children, especially if vaccines are not provided in a timely
manner. "The number of cases of vaccine-preventable diseases might go up, which includes measles and hypothesis," said Dr Meena.