Infectious Disease

Half of the US summer season camps wouldn’t have a written vaccination coverage

January 19, 2021

2 min read

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According to an online survey of US summer camp leaders, 80% agreed that all campers should be fully immunized, but only 50% said their camps had a written vaccination policy.

Carissa Bunke, MD, a resident of the University of Michigan’s Categorical Pediatrics Program, and colleagues who worked with CampDoc.com, an on-line electronic system for camp medical records, and the Association of Camp Nursing to conduct an online survey of camp management related to vaccinations to be carried out for children attending the summer camp.

According to the researchers, more than 14 million children attend summer camps in the United States each year. Although every state requires vaccinations for children attending public schools, they don’t have vaccination mandates for the camp, they reported.

Recently, a student attending an overnight camp in Wisconsin became infected with SARS-CoV-2 and the virus spread to 76% of the camp.

The current study included 710 respondents who fully answered the survey and represented 378 US camps. The respondents were directors (44%; n = 164), nurses (26%; n = 98), office staff (16%; n = 60), doctors (3%; n = 13), owners (2%; n = ) 8) Medical technicians (1%; n = 3) and others (8%; n = 32).

Eighty percent of executives (n = 276) agreed that campers should be fully immunized prior to visiting camp, although only 50% of camps (n = 174) have a reported immunization policy for campers and 39% for employees (n = 133) have reported, Bunke and colleagues.

According to the study, 54% of the camps (n = 181) allowed unvaccinated children to visit the camp with non-medical exceptions. Three percent of the camps (n = 10) had a vaccine-preventable outbreak, while 14 percent (n = 47) had been warned of possible exposure in the district within the last two years. Twenty percent of camps (n = 68) feared they could lose significant numbers of campers if they needed vaccinations.

According to one analysis, camps were more likely to report having a vaccination policy if leadership agreed that all campers should be vaccinated before visiting the camp (adjusted OR, 3.1; 95% CI, 1.5-6.2 ), reported Bunke and colleagues. Similarly, camps likely had a vaccination policy if they were in states that required vaccination documentation (aOR, 4.86; 95% CI, 2.9-8), but less likely if they accepted non-medical exemptions ( aOR, 0.27; 95)% CI, 0.1-0.4).

“GPs should team up with camp management to create vaccination guidelines that are fully aligned with AAP guidelines, and public health stakeholders should continue to advocate government guidelines that require documentation of campers’ vaccination status in order to to ensure the optimal well-being of all children in camps, ”the authors wrote.

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