EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Since the COVID-19 vaccine was approved for everyone five and up, health experts have been stressing the importance of children getting their routine vaccines. Experts are worried that may not have been the cases during the pandemic.
According to the CDC, fewer children got their routine immunizations at the start of the pandemic.
“Through measles is not common, if children are not immunized against it, they are vulnerable if the disease is imported into one of our communities,” said Dr. Keith English.
Dr. English is a pediatric infectious disease specialist who teaches at Michigan State University.
He said since the pandemic hit, fewer children are up to date with their routine immunizations.
“The sad news is Michigan ranks lower than it should already in terms of our overall immunization rate for young children. We were making some progress in closing that gap when the pandemic started.” he said.
Dr. English said one reason why rates are so low is because it became more difficult to schedule a doctor’s appointment. He said that’s because health care workers have been overwhelmed with COVID patients.
Psychology expert Dr. Zakia Alavi said some parents were even concerned of visiting a doctor’s office because of the potential risk of COVID-19 exposure. Dr. Alavi said lately, she’s been starting conversations with parents to get their opinions on this.
“We’ve been having more discussions, more sort of gentle reminders, more open ended question about have you vaccinated your child, what are your thoughts on vaccinations and so on and so forth,” she said.
Dr. English said it will take coordination between doctors, health clinics and departments to make it easier for parents to schedule those vaccines conveniently; medicine he said he has seen work.
“New vaccines have saved so many lives in children in this country and around the world. It’s been the most remarkable and wonderful thing in my career as a pediatrician,” he said.