350 per cent spike in paediatric queries amid lockdown as parents fret over delayed vaccinations

The majority of queries on the digital healthcare app came from Bengaluru, followed by Hyderabad, Delhi NCR, Chennai and Mumbai.
Representative image (File Photo | EPS)
Representative image (File Photo | EPS)

BENGALURU: Amidst the lockdown, there has been a 350% spike in consultations of pediatric cases, says a study from digital healthcare app Practo, with the major concern of parents being the impact of delayed vaccination.

The majority of the queries came from Bengaluru, followed by Hyderabad, Delhi NCR, Chennai and Mumbai.

With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, all immunization services except birth doses were suspended in the state. And the most common queries on vaccinations were on the impact of delay in administering influenza vaccine, missed PCV vaccination cycle, BCG vaccination, painless vaccination for infants and typhoid vaccination for affected children during the lockdown. Other queries were cough and cold in babies, fever and headache in toddlers and motion problems during summer.

Dr Prathap Chandra, Consultant Neonatalogist and Paediatrician, Motherhood Hospitals, Indiranagar, Bangalore, said, "The most common queries that we are getting from parents is of anxiety either due to missed dose of vaccination or delay in the dose of vaccination for their kids. Considering the lockdown situation, parents are keen to understand various aspects like when is the right time to give the vaccination, what will happen in case the vaccinations are delayed beyond a certain time and whether it needs to be postponed until things are normal."

He added, "We have been advising parents that since this is an unprecedented circumstance, vaccinations can be delayed for some time, however it is extremely important for parents to give primary vaccinations to their infants. Therefore, all the important vaccinations mentioned by IAP and in the schedule must be given especially to new-born babies. The primary vaccinations within the first four months after the birth are extremely important. These are DPT, HIB, Polio, Hepatitis B, pneumococcal and rotavirus vaccines, usually given at 6, 10 and 14 weeks after birth."

Dr Mayuri Yeole, Consultant Paediatrician, Apollo Hospitals Seshadripuram, said, "We have been observing an increase in queries and requests for vaccination for kids. Given that most consultations happen online these days, however, as per guidelines by Advisory Committee on Vaccine and Immunization Practises, it is advised that immunisation be continued during the pandemic as it is an essential activity. There has been no documented risk from vaccination in kids. There are vaccines that have been advised for children until they turn a year (DPT, Hep B, Hib, OPV/IPV, Rotaviris, PCV, Influenza, varicella and MMR) which we do on a routine basis. However, given the current scenario, we have kept the booster vaccines on hold as per the recommendation, unless the patient is directly present at the hospital, in which case, we do it through scheduled visits, to avoid risking the health of the children."

Dr Ravi Shankar Swamy, Consultant, Neonatology and NICU, Manipal Hospitals, Whitefield, said, "We had stopped vaccinations once the lockdown commenced. As per the guidelines of the IAP, we have now restarted the vaccinations. We have segregated the healthy children by giving vaccines only between 9am to 11am. Post 11am, we are seeing other children. We are giving vaccines at birth. We are prioritizing primary immunization schedules and encouraging the high risk population to take pneumococcal and influenza vaccinations. Primary immunization should be done on time.”

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