MANCHESTER, Maine (AP) - Pediatricians in Maine are reminding parents to get their children caught up on routine immunizations, which many students have missed during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Maine Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics said Thursday a Blue Cross Blue Shield analysis found a 26% drop in vaccine doses last year. The analysis also found that 40% of parents surveyed said their children missed shots because of the pandemic.
The chapter called on parents to get in touch with their pediatricians to schedule visits to keep their children up to date.
Data indicates adolescents in Maine are behind on vaccines for certain cancers, pertussis and meningitis, the organization said in a statement.
The chapter said parents have delayed or skipped vaccination appointments because of fear of catching the coronavirus, economic hardship and greater demands on their time and attention.
Immunizations are required to attend school in Maine, and a new law goes into effect this year that takes away philosophical and religious exemptions.
In other news related to the pandemic in Maine:
The latest average positivity rate in Maine is 1.85%. State health departments are calculating positivity rate differently across the country, but for Maine the AP calculates the rate by dividing new cases by test specimens using data from The COVID Tracking Project.
The seven-day rolling average of the positivity rate in Maine did not increase over the past two weeks, going from 3.13% on Feb. 4 to 1.85% on Feb. 18.
Health authorities in Maine have reported more than 43,000 positive cases of the virus and 656 deaths since the start of the pandemic.
Portland Expo, one of the oldest performance venues in New England, will be the site of a coronavirus vaccination clinic.
Northern Light Mercy Hospital said it’s working with Portland and Maine officials to offer vaccinations to people 70 and over at the site starting March 2. The site will host appointments on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Portland Expo opened more than a century ago and has hosted appearances ranging from President John F. Kennedy to the Beach Boys.
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