During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is concerned about a “significant reduction” in normal childhood vaccines, and health authorities are urging parents to arrange doctor’s appointments for their children as soon as possible.
“People are often saying, ‘We’ll wait until later in the summer when it’s time to go back to school,’” said Dr. Michael Warren, associate administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau. “Remember, every parent is having the same idea that you are — and so everybody is going to be trying to get that done at once.”
“Don’t wait. Do that now,” he said. “Also, the longer we wait, the longer we have kids who are at risk for diseases like measles and meningitis. But also, that puts people and their family and the communities around them at risk.”
Although the number of pediatric medical visits rose after the stay-at-home orders were rescinded, the CDC warns that immunization rates remain still low.
“This lag in catch-up vaccination might pose a serious public health threat that would result in vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks, especially in schools that have reopened for in-person learning,” the CDC warned.
Warren highlights the significance of regular “well visits” for children to ensure that they are growing and developing appropriately, as well as seeing and hearing clearly.
“For each of those visits, if we are behind — we’re missing out on those opportunities, and you may have a child who’s not seeing as well or hearing as well as they could be, and that may put them at risk for delays in school and not performing as well,” he said. “So, absolutely important to get them in.”