The CDC recently issued a call-to-action letter to address how healthcare providers, public health, community organizations, and the public can prepare for the unique challenges to the public’s health posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The content of this letter is pertinent and relevant to the work that lies ahead of us. In Virginia, the Virginia Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics reports that infant vaccination rates have decreased by 30% and adolescent vaccination rates have decreased by 76%.
As coalition members begin collaboration in our work groups and steering committees this month, here are some key takeaways from the letter that can orient us to the new and emerging immunization issues.
The CDC implores healthcare professionals to review current vaccination protocols, specifically focusing on what can be strengthened, what strategies have been effective, and how to reach at-risk and vulnerable populations.
Staying up to date with the Interim Guidance for Immunization Services During the COVID-19 Pandemic will allow us to relay accurate information about vaccinations during the pandemic. In Virginia, Governor Northam reminded Virginians of the importance of keeping children up-to-date with the vaccination schedule to lessen the likelihood of a preventable outbreak and reassured Virginians that in-person doctor visits are considered essential.
The CDC has provided resources like social media posts, key messages, and others for our utilization within our outreach to the community.
Now more than ever, conversations to support parents in their vaccine decisions are important. We've included resources related to communicating these important messages to parents in the Resources folder of the member portal.
We know that not having health insurance can impact a person’s ability to access vaccinations. The CDC recommends using resources like the Vaccines for Children program to help bridge that gap in every state.
Updated Flu Vaccine Recommendations
It is expected that this upcoming flu season will affect more people than normal. Reviewing flu vaccine recommendations and looking for strategies that will increase the flu vaccinated population can lighten the amount of people suffering from respiratory illnesses this fall.
As stated in the letter, we play a “vital role...in protecting our communities through vaccination.” Now that we know some of the issues at hand, let’s keep them in mind as we work to increase immunization protection in Virginia.
To read the full letter and access the mentioned resources, please visit the CDC’s website here.