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The coronavirus pandemic keeps complicating the care of children in critical ways.
Happy summer! As we move into the now fourth month of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have had to adjust to new ways of providing comprehensive care to all our patients. The pandemic has led to some unintended consequences in our ability to provide this care, the most critical being the immunization of infants and children in a timely manner.
Studies have shown that up-to-date vaccine status for the recommended childhood vaccines has significantly decreased since the start of the pandemic, with less than 50% of infants and children in many areas of the United States being reported as current on their vaccines. This decrease has been most striking for infants and children enrolled in Medicaid insurance programs. The marked drop in immunization rates has a major impact on herd immunity and leaves these infants and children susceptible to vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles and pertussis. As pediatric health care providers, we need to make a concerted effort to get patients back into the office for their vaccines against all the vaccine-preventable diseases.
COVID-19 infection for many children is milder than that seen in the adult population. However, as we continue to learn more about COVID-19, there are new issues that have a significant impact on our ability to care for our patients. The emergence of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) has demonstrated that COVID-19 infection in some children can be serious and life threatening, and that has added a sense of urgency in the diagnosis and treatment of these patients.
This issue of Contemporary Pediatrics is dedicated to Infectious Disease, with many articles exploring different aspects of COVID-19 infection in infants and children and intended to provide health care providers with guidance in diagnosis and management. The articles focusing on COVID-19 include:
Even as we continue to work through the COVID-19 pandemic, remember to get outside once in a while and enjoy the sunshine. Summer really can be the best time of the year.
Please stay safe and well. I welcome your suggestions, comments, and questions.
With warmest regards,
Tina Q Tan,