IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - A vaccine tracking system for the Center for Disease Control is indicating a decline in pediatric vaccinations since a week after the national emergency was declared.
Nurse manager at Eastern Idaho Public Health Tiffany Larsen tells us fewer than half of children five months and older are up to date on their vaccinations. She believes this is cause for alarm.
"This definitely leaves young children and their communities, very vulnerable to that same preventable diseases and the complications that they can cause," Larsen said.
While there's been a decline in all vaccinations, Larsen says one big concern is the Measles. She says the doses for that vaccine administered to children less than 24 months of age has decreased by 15.5%.
"And that one spreads so rapidly that's just extremely contagious you know somebody that has measles, if they're in a room and they leave, that can stay in that air for two hours so anybody entering that room as a potential risk for it, they are not protected," Larsen said.
Across the United States Larsen tells us adult vaccinations have dropped as well, "We're scared to go out, and I think that's resulted in people not seeking the regular routine care."
In 2019, two thirds of children five months and older were up to date on their vaccinations according to Larsen.
During a pandemic, larsen says vaccinations are even more important.
"To prevent the spread a vaccine preventable diseases and have their complications, which would again result in overloading of our healthcare systems on top of the COVID-19 going on," Larsen said.
On Thursday June 4, Eastern Idaho Public Health is hosting a free immunization clinic, where children 18 years and younger can recieve free vaccinations.
Larsen says the clinic is taking many precautions to ensure a safe environment for all, “making sure that we can adequately immunize while maintaining social distancing and not exposing people to high traffic areas not having people go through the same doors as they exit. Make sure there's adequate hand sanitizer we're going to have people fill out paperwork in their vehicles before they are even allowed to get into line."
The clinic will operate from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. by appointment only.
For more information on how to make an appointment for the free clinic you can call 208- 533-3235.
Eastern Idaho Public Health is asking all who are sick to please stay home, they will coordinate another day to receive free vaccinations for you if needed.