The Canadian government spent more than a $1 billion on COVID-19 in the past 20 years.
Parental vaccine hesitancy is nothing new, but immunization rates have started to drop.
More than half of parents with children from 1 to 11 years old said they were certain or somewhat likely to get their children vaccinated against measles, mumps and rubella, according to the annual National Immunization Survey conducted by Public Health Ontario (PHO). That’s the lowest level since 2000.
The report was presented this week at the annual meeting of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research in Toronto.
In the last decade, the proportion of parents who were certain or somewhat likely to get their children vaccinated dropped to 62% from 68%. In addition, 18% of parents said they were unsure or unsure about their children’s vaccination status.
“We know that any slight decline in vaccination rates is critical to realize the benefits of vaccines,” said Dr. Colin McPherson, director of the National Immunization Program at PHO.
“Despite significant investments in immunization, the rate of routine childhood immunization is not keeping pace with the requirements for protection of population,” he said.
There are multiple reasons parents may have reasons to delay vaccination, including their belief in alternative health practices, concern over health costs, concern over possible adverse reactions to the vaccine, a belief in rejecting and cultural resistance to vaccination, according to a fact sheet on immunization safety from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Still, young children are most at risk when they get sick from a vaccine-preventable illness.
According to data from the CDC, which reviewed more than 70,000 laboratory-confirmed cases of measles from 1976 to 2014, infants under 1 year old are most vulnerable. Forty percent of cases of measles occurred among children younger than 1.
According to the CDC, more than 700 people have now contracted measles in the United States this year, compared with about 91 cases in all of 2016. Many of these cases have been linked to a measles outbreak in California.