An organisation of Japanese pediatricians* has revealed that the number of parents who are avoiding getting their babies vaccinated is increasing during the coronavirus pandemic. The organisation urges parents not to skip vaccinations since there are risks of their children contracting life-threatening infectious diseases.
Babies are recommended to receive three doses of the streptococcus pneumoniae vaccine between the ages of 2-months and 6-months old. The inoculation rate for 3 months olds is 82% for babies born in November last year, 77% for those born in December, and 74% for those born in January this year. The babies who were born after November last year were supposed to take the vaccine after January this year, which was when Covid-19 was confirmed in Japan. This is therefore the time when it seems there was an increase in the number of parents who avoided taking their children to a clinic for vaccination.
The situation is similar for the MR vaccine, which prevents measles and rubella, and is supposed to be taken after the age of one. The inoculation rate for this vaccine fell more than 10 % among one-year-old children after December last year, compared with that the previous year.
The organisation which conducted the research into vaccination rates says that delays in vaccination may increase the risk of life-threatening infections. They recommend parents get their children vaccinated as much as possible during the recommended time period. This is important because there are some diseases that can be caught by mixing in groups, such as at nurseries, some of which remained open in Japan throughout the pandemic.
I understand the fear of going to clinics or hospitals at this time, especially since little children often touch anywhere they want. However, I’m sure that not only I but most people now understand how dangerous infectious diseases can be. Also, we should remember the success of vaccinations in eradicating infectious diseases in the past.
Although the state of emergency has now been lifted in most parts of Japan, it does not mean that the situation is now entirely safe. All the same, vaccinations are essential for the safety of everyone and must be prioritised.
I have a 3-year-old daughter who needs to receive a vaccination soon. I’m going to get an appointment this month. Why don’t you join me in taking your children to get their vaccinations too?
*The organisation has rather a long name. It is VPDを知って、子どもを守ろうの会. This can perhaps be translated as the Group for Knowing about Vaccine Preventable Diseases and Protecting Children.