MCDOWELL COUNTY, W.Va. – For the past several months our world has been ravaged by an infectious disease, COVID-19. A disease that has spread like wildfire and caused extraordinary amounts of suffering and destruction to our economy, healthcare system, and our personal lives. As of now, we do not have a vaccine to prevent this disease.
However, there are other diseases, like COVID-19, that have had similar effect on the world in the past. Diseases like measles, mumps, and rubella. We have fought these diseases in past and won. We have developed vaccines that prevent these diseases and protect our population from similar consequences that we are suffering from now.
During this pandemic there has been a marked decline in vaccinations upwards of 2.5 million doses of regular childhood vaccines. Vaccines for preventable diseases that could compromise the lives of our children and our communities.
Concerted efforts are needed to ensure rapid “catch-up” for children who are not up-to-date with recommended vaccinations. This includes all children under the age of 19. New guidelines have been issued to assist medical providers in “catching up” those immunizations that could potentially save lives.
In addition to children, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that adults, especially the elderly or chronically ill, keep their vaccinations current as well. CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends a single dose of pneumonia vaccine (PPSV23) for all people 65 years and older and for persons 2 to 64 years of age with certain high-risk conditions (such as those who have no spleen, and those who have HIV infection, AIDS or cancer).
“People in these groups are at increased risk of pneumonia (pneumococcal disease) as well as serious complications from influenza. A single revaccination at least five years after initial vaccination is recommended for people 65 years and older or those who were first vaccinated before age 65 years. These vaccines have been proven to prevent disease and save lives. It is our responsibility as human beings to promote life, health, and well-being, and prevent disease in every situation and circumstance” said Matthew Delconna, D.O. and Tug River Health Provider.
Tug River Health Centers and Mobile Unit will soon be offering vaccinations to all patients.