Health Experts Remind Ohio Parents About Diseases Besides COVID-19 as Vaccination Orders Fall

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COLUMBUS, Ohio — With all the national speculation about the release of a novel coronavirus vaccine, some health experts are encouraging Ohio parents to do what they can to prevent the spread of other diseases.

The latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study found that orders for regular childhood vaccines fell by 2.5 million doses between mid-March and mid-April.

While safety concerns or religious reasons are cited by some parents for not immunizing their children, Stephen Roller, the chief clinical officer and chief operations officer for Primary Health Solutions in Butler County, said worries about potential exposure to COVID-19 seem to be behind the recent drop.

"I think parents are doing the best that they can," said Roller. "School looks different, church looks different. Life in general looks different right now. But one of the things that needs to be a constant is getting those kids in for routine checkups and vaccinations."

Roller noted health-care providers are taking precautionary measures to protect patients, including pre-visit screenings, temperature checks, extra sanitizing, and the use of gloves and masks.

According to Roller, continuing to get regular immunizations protects the community from preventable outbreaks of other diseases.

"COVID obviously is sort of top of everyone's mind right now," said Roller, "but there are also a lot of really serious illnesses that are vaccine-preventable — such as polio, Haemophilus influenza, certain types of pneumonia. And that's why we do these immunizations."

With the arrival of flu season, Roller contended the seasonal flu shot is more important than ever.

"So many of the symptoms of COVID can be similar to the flu," said Roller. "So our hope would be that if they get the flu vaccine, that maybe if someone comes in presenting of symptoms, we'd have a little bit better idea of at least it's not the flu, so it can help to faster diagnosis of what's going on."

Roller encouraged parents to reach out to their child's doctor if they have concerns about medical visits during the pandemic or immunizations.
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