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COVID, Lockdowns Cited as Cause for Reduced Childhood Vaccinations

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Friday, August 6, 2021   

AUSTIN, Texas -- Many of us lost track of days and months during the pandemic, and that may be why some parents skipped their kids' well-child visits and routine vaccinations last year.

Orders for non-influenza childhood vaccines decreased by a total of 11.7 million doses compared with 2019, according to a report from the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families and American Academy of Pediatrics.

Dr. Seth D. Kaplan, president of the Texas Pediatric Society, said routine vaccinations help prevent outbreaks of contagious diseases such as measles or chicken pox, and noted well-child visits are needed to check on growth and development.

"It's not just about vaccines," Kaplan advised. "It's about their whole health care; preparation for sports and readiness for school, and keeping people on their regular well-child schedule."

Kaplan noted if too few people in a community are vaccinated against a particular disease, an outbreak could develop. Texas law requires students to be fully vaccinated against specific diseases.

Dr. Lee Beers, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, said it is important parents avoid misinformation that could remove their power to make a good decision for their kids.

"There's all sorts of reasons that a family may have not been able to make it in for their well visit, and we understand that," Beers explained. "And we understand that it's been a hard year. But we also really want to make sure that your child is healthy and safe, and well protected."

Kaplan would like to see more Texas kids who are 12 and older coming in for their COVID vaccinations.

"Here in Texas, if you haven't started already, you're not going to have full protection onboard when school starts," Kaplan cautioned. "But now's the time, and then we eagerly await word from the FDA and the CDC on younger kids."

The Food and Drug Administration has said COVID-19 vaccines for children younger than 12 could come in early to midwinter.

Disclosure: Georgetown University Center for Children and Families contributes to our fund for reporting on Children's Issues, and Health Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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