DETROIT – Doctors studying the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) said the pandemic has led to fewer parents getting their children vaccinated and an increase in dog bite attacks.
COVID-19 has had a major ripple effect into other areas of medicine, beyond the obvious.
Pediatric vaccination rates in the United States have fallen sharply since the start of the pandemic. A new poll further supports that fear of the coronavirus is keeping parents from getting their children routine vaccines, even though they recognize their importance.
The National Survey by Orlando Health shows 84% of parents think vaccines are the best way to prevent infectious disease, but two-thirds are still nervous to take their children to the pediatrician’s office to get those vaccines.
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The survey also found that skepticism about vaccines is still a major issue, with 38% of parents responding that they don’t believe their children need all the vaccines recommended by their pediatrician.
Experts fear that if vaccine rates continue to fall, we will lose our herd immunity and allow preventable illnesses to resurge.
A report published in the Journal of Pediatrics by emergency physicians in Colorado found a threefold increase in dog bites since COVID-19 stay-at-home orders were enacted.
The increase has persisted even since restrictions were lifted, experts said.
They believe the increased dog biting is due to more dog exposure to children, greater dog stress from children being at home more often, additional household stress and decreased adult supervision due to competing home responsibilities for parents and caregivers.
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Experts wanted to put out a warning because children, especially those ages 5-9 years old, have the highest incidents of dog bites. Infants and younger children have a higher likelihood of bites to the head and neck.
Most dog bites involve the family dog or another known dog, experts said.
Dogs being more stressed because of overall anxiety in the household is an unforeseen consequence of the pandemic, officials said. It’s termed “emotional contagion” and means a companion dog mirrors the emotions and stress levels of their human caregivers.
Stress has been high in many households during the pandemic.