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How Did Covid-19 Affect Immunization Rates?

How Did Covid-19 Affect Immunization Rates?

Although we’re in the waning phases of the Covid-19 pandemic, some parents may still be cautious about bringing their children into public places. In particular, visiting hospitals, doctor’s offices and clinics may be sources of added anxiety. While this anxiety is understandable, experts say it should not interfere with getting proper medical care for our children.

In particular, some have voiced concern over children not receiving scheduled immunizations as parents delay bringing them in for checkups until the pandemic is completely “over.” Since these visits aren’t for “emergencies,” there’s some evidence parents across the country have deferred well-baby checkups or physicals, where the immunizations are usually given.

According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, there’s been a sharp downturn in administering vaccinations over the past few months of the pandemic lockdowns. 

In a report at the Mayo Clinic website, News Network, Mayo Clinic family medicine specialist Dr. Tina Ardon says she understands the need to “be thoughtful” about taking kids to in-person doctor’s visits, but stresses vaccines can prevent serious illnesses, so parents shouldn’t lose the opportunity to “stay on top of things” regarding immunizations.

Jeffrey Williams, M.D. of Hattiesburg Clinic Children’s Clinic agrees with this idea.

“It is critical for children to stay current on their vaccinations, especially during this global pandemic,” Dr. Williams said. “Our goal is to keep children healthy now and in the future.” 

 Williams said newborns and toddlers do not have the immunity that older kids and adults have built up over time.

“Illnesses like whooping cough and pertussis can be very harmful if we do not stay on top of these vaccinations,” Williams said. 

Another physician with the practice, Anita S. Henderson, further detailed why she feels these shots are important.

“Vaccinations help to eliminate, or greatly decrease, these serious illnesses that used to spread from child to child,” Dr. Henderson said. “As social distancing requirements are relaxed, children who are not protected by vaccines will be more vulnerable to diseases such as whooping cough, pertussis, and measles. We urge parents to continue maintaining their child’s immunization schedule and well-visits to ensure their child is healthy and safe, especially during this time.”

About The Author

Kara Bachman

Kara Bachman is a Managing Editor for Parents & Kids. She's also a book editor, former newspaper reporter, and is author of the humor essay collection, "Kissing the Crisis," which deals with the zanier aspects of parenting, relationships and turning 40. She's read her work on NPR radio and over 1,500 items have appeared in dozens of literary and commercial publications, including The Writer, The Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop, the New Orleans Times-Picayune and, Dogster, Mississippi Magazine, American Fitness and many more. She's a New Orleans native, but lived for over a dozen years on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, including during 2005 when her house was flooded by Hurricane Katrina. She's a mom to two teenagers.

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