I was worried about how the lockdown could affect other diseases. My basic knowledge of herd immunity led me to think that perhaps there were other diseases for which we had already earned herd immunity that could unravel and leave us in a medical armageddon when we emerge from “lockdown”.
Then I saw the very interesting article on herd immunity by Martin Kulldorff on Spiked a few days ago. Kulldorff is a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. I decided to ask him if I should be worried.
“The lockdown has also reduced the spread of other infectious diseases, but I cannot think how that would have any long term negative consequences” he assured me.
“I do have one concern though. With the lockdown, there are fewer regular health care visits. I have not seen the numbers, but if this has reduced the vaccination rate in children, that may be a problem.
Not right now, because the lockdown also reduces the spread of such diseases. But, as soon as the lockdown is lifted we could get outbreaks of vaccine preventable diseases like measles if too many children have not received their scheduled vaccinations.”
I left him to check some data and he came back to me the next day… “I checked the US data, and childhood vaccinations are way down.”
The data is from a paper by some of professor Kulldorff’s colleagues that will be published in MMWR probably later this week (https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/index.html).
I checked what’s happening in the UK. People are still being given appointments to have their children vaccinated but many are not keeping them. This is probably due to the reported 70% plus of British citizens being afraid to leave their house unnecessarily.