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How vaccines stop the spread of viruses
01:26 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

Seventeen Democratic senators have sent a letter to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, asking for a plan to fight a “dramatic” drop in childhood vaccinations since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Earlier this month, the CDC reported a “notable decrease” in the number of vaccines ordered through a federal program that immunizes half of all kids in the country. Several states have also reported drops.

The group of senators, organized by New Hampshire’s Maggie Hassan, asked the CDC to organize a program to reverse the trend.

“We write to express significant concern regarding the recent decline in routine childhood immunization rates in the United States during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and urge you to take immediate action to encourage and support routine pediatric immunizations through the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the senators wrote in a letter, obtained exclusively by CNN.

The CDC has cautions that unvaccinated or under-vaccinated children will be at risk of other infectious diseases besides coronavirus.

“Such outbreaks would put lives at risk, and place additional stress on our health care system and public health infrastructure at a time when these systems are struggling to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the senators wrote.

“To avoid this potential crisis, we urge the CDC to immediately develop an action plan that incorporates targeted public outreach and education efforts on addressing vaccine hesitancy and emphasizing the importance of pediatric immunizations,” they added.

They also urged the CDC to provide resources for communities where vaccinations have fallen, and to provide guidance on how parents can safely get their kids vaccinated.

“What specific steps is CDC taking to reverse the dramatic drop in vaccinations since mid March?” they asked.

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They also asked what CDC is doing about the increasingly loud voices of vaccine skeptics. “Is CDC planning a public information campaign to address vaccine hesitancy, and if so, how will CDC ensure that the necessary communication on the importance of routine immunizations is reaching parents and families?” they asked.

They did offer money. “Does CDC require additional resources from Congress in order to support efforts to reverse the decline in pediatric immunizations? If so, what level of funding would be sufficient?” they asked.