KCUR: COVID-19 Has Kept Kansas City Kids From Getting Shots That Protect Against Other Childhood Diseases
By Elle Moxley
Some kids aren’t getting routine childhood immunizations because health departments are cutting back on vaccine clinic hours as they respond to COVID-19.
Other families are delaying care because they’re afraid to go to the doctor’s office during a pandemic.
“Parents may have said back in May, June, ‘We’re going to skip this right now. Things are just crazy, and we’re going to do this later.’ And it’s so easy to forget later,” said Dr. Jennifer Schuster, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Children’s Mercy Hospital.
In the spring, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that vaccine rates declined in the spring.
Vaccination rates are starting to rebound, but many school districts are still behind where they would normally be at this point in the school year, especially those that are online-only.
“The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends every child receives a flu shot, so that is our goal,” said Schuster, the Children’s Mercy doctor. “This year is no different. If anything, it’s actually even more important.”
The CDC recommends everyone 6 months and older get vaccinated for the flu this year. It’s especially important for people in high-risk categories for COVID-19, as they also tend to have more serious complications from the flu.
Schuster said pediatricians need to take every opportunity to talk to parents about the importance of flu shots and other childhood vaccinations.
“Maybe you’re seeing the child because they're sick and they actually need COVID testing, or you are refilling ADHD medications, but take every single encounter to think about vaccines and preventative medicine,” she said.
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Learn more information about COVID-19 from Children's Mercy