Confidence in routine childhood vaccinations declined during pandemic, UNICEF says

By Nicole Ireland

UNICEF says public perception of the importance of routine childhood vaccinations has declined by eight per cent in Canada since before the pandemic.

A report issued by the agency says that confidence in vaccination against diseases such as measles, polio and tetanus fell in 52 out of 55 countries surveyed.

It says the proportion of Canadians who believe childhood immunizations are important decreased from 90 per cent to 82 per cent over the last three years.

Pediatric infectious diseases specialist Dr. Cora Constantinescu says UNICEF’s findings are significant.

She says vaccine hesitancy and disrupted access to routine vaccinations have both been problems in Canada during the pandemic.

Although more than 80 per cent of Canadians still believe vaccines are important, Constantinescu says that’s not enough to achieve a comfortable level of herd immunity against preventable childhood illnesses.

She says there have been recent cases of measles, whooping cough, and meningococcal disease in various parts of Canada.