While COVID-19 vaccination remains a focal point for school-aged children, they are still recommended to continue receiving their other age-based vaccines. Doing so provides protection against infectious diseases, which can impact children of this age.
For Grade 6 and 9 students, these vaccines are listed on the ImmunizeBC website and on the Immunize.io’s Vaccinations Across the Lifespan page. These vaccines are more important than ever. Why?
With resources and attention dedicated to the COVID-19 vaccine, the vaccination rates for these other important vaccines have dropped. This can lead to new disease outbreaks and illness in the population.
What history has shown
Over the years, outbreaks of a new disease have led to a reduction in routine vaccination rates — followed by a resurgence of previously dormant diseases.
One example happened in West Africa (Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone), with the Ebola outbreak of 2014-2015. This led to a reduction in measles vaccination in the population. As a result, measles disease transmission drastically increased well above pre-Ebola levels.
For B.C. school-aged children, vaccination against COVID-19, along with routine vaccines, are more important than ever.
With the provincial reopening plan underway due to the success of vaccinations, expectations are that both regular and post-secondary schools will increase in-person learning capacity. COVID-19 vaccination protects both the child and vulnerable family contacts, who may have the virus inadvertently transmitted to.
If we neglect important routine school-based vaccinations, the same phenomenon can occur with serious diseases, such as meningitis; communicable diseases, such as pertussis; and long term diseases, such as HPV.
Since access to school-based vaccinations is limited at this time, it is important that parents address these gaps with a sense of urgency by consulting with their child’s healthcare provider.