About a third of parents in Japan have postponed vaccinating their children during the novel coronavirus pandemic amid fears of catching an infection, a survey by a nonprofit organization showed Monday.
A total of 33 percent of parents in the survey delayed having their children vaccinated, with some citing how they refrained from going out due to the state of emergency, in place from early April through the end of May, to prevent the spread of the virus, according to the organization, Know VPD! Protect Our Children.
VPD refers to vaccine preventable diseases. The group promotes a range of vaccinations for children to protect them from diseases such as hepatitis B, measles and polio.
"Guardians have not been well informed that vaccinations are not considered nonessential," the organization said, urging parents not to shy away from getting vaccines.
By putting it off, the children may end up facing a delay in their vaccinations or not getting vaccinated at all, the group said.
The online survey was conducted between May and June among 1,089 people who have children of up to senior high school age.
According to the study, a total of 67 percent of parents had their children vaccinated during the pandemic as scheduled, while over 30 percent delayed them. Of the latter, 17 percent answered they had eventually re-booked the vaccinations, while 16 percent said their children had yet to be vaccinated.
Asked in a multiple choice question about the reasons behind their postponement, the majority, or 68 percent, said they were afraid of catching the coronavirus, while 49 percent said they refrained from going out following the declaration of the state of emergency.
During the state of emergency, people were advised to refrain from making nonessential outings.
The survey also found that 43 percent said they believed it would be alright to delay vaccinations for a period, while 39 percent answered that they did not want to burden medical facilities.
Of parents who were aware that vaccinations were "not nonessential," only 29 percent delayed them, compared to 50 percent who did not know that vaccinations do not fall under the nonessential outings.
Akinori Sugaya, head of the nonprofit and a pediatrician, assured the public that the pediatrics departments and clinics are taking safety precautions such as by the separating opening hours for general visits and vaccinations.
Urging people not to put off vaccinations any longer, Sugaya said, "Diseases can spread if you continue to delay (vaccines)."
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