Skipping routine vaccinations could lead to outbreaks, local health officials say

Published: Aug. 25, 2021 at 7:09 AM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - While the focus is on the COVID-19 shots, a report from the Centers for Disease Control showed routine childhood vaccination rates dropped during the beginning of the pandemic.

According to the report, data from across the country showed there was a significant drop in the number of vaccines administered from March to May 2020, compared with the year prior.

Local health officials said that’s something parents should keep up with.

The Waco-McLennan County Health Department and Dr. Samuel Clark, a pediatrician with Baylor Scott & White, said when vaccine rates drop, outbreaks are more likely.

Dr. Clark said if a disease is highly contagious, more people need to be vaccinated to prevent outbreaks.

While measles and mumps and other diseases children get vaccinated against aren’t as common anymore, they still exist and they can be serious.

“These are illnesses that can put you in hospital, these are illnesses that can take you out for weeks if not months,” Kelly Craine, spokesperson for the Waco-McLennan County Health District, said. “And we have the ability to stop that. We don’t need another outbreak on top of COVID.”

Dr. Clark said they vaccinate against these diseases because they can create a significant burden on the healthcare system, which is already getting overwhelmed due to COVID-19. Dr. Clark said taking preventative measures to keep kids healthy and in school is important.

“There’s going to be times during the pandemic where you’re just going have to have kids out of school for a particular period of time, maybe, you know, people in the class have COVID or maybe you’re just having to shut a campus down,” Dr. Clark said.

“If you can mitigate the number of days, they’re going to miss outside of that, that’s even more helpful for their kids in their education and also their social well-being.”

In addition to the required vaccinations, Dr. Clark recommends for all kids to get the flu shot once it’s available this year, since that’s more likely to cause a burden for the hospitals.

The health department said if you have questions about vaccines for your children, they’re available to help, along with your child’s doctor or school nurse.

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