On Monday morning, Patsy Stinchfield, senior director of infection control at Children’s Minnesota, joined Senator Amy Klobuchar in a press conference focused on the importance of continuing to administer vaccinations for preventable diseases during the COVID-19 pandemic. Recent reports show a disturbing decline in routine vaccinations for children, including a 70 percent drop in measles vaccines administered to Minnesota children compared to this time last year.
“This has been a very, very challenging time for all of us. I think people feel in some ways sort of hopeless, but this is something that can give you hope. Vaccines are safe. Vaccines work. Vaccines save lives. And this is an action for all of us to take to help prevent the spread of infection,” Stinchfield said.
Senator Klobuchar gave an overview of the state’s decline in vaccinations and outlined the consequences of not addressing vaccine-preventable diseases. She also described some of the work happening in the Senate to address the issue.
Stinchfeld provided perspective on the impact COVID-19 is having on pediatrics, pointing to an alarming delay in regular immunizations. She highlighted the efforts that our primary care clinics have made to expand safe options for vaccine administration to include curbside administration and to prioritize our newborn well visits in carefully selected and screened clinics. She emphasized that our facilities are safe.
Amber Spanoil, the Director of Health Services for Minneapolis Public Schools, shared concern about what this will mean for kids this fall and winter and the potential for a measles outbreak in the school system.
“It’s not too late to get your kids caught up on their vaccines. Protect them and do your part to protect the community,” Stinchfield said.