CDC: ‘Serious public health threat’ possible if kids don’t make up missed vaccinations

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is concerned about a “marked decline” in routine childhood vaccinations during the COVID-19 pandemic, and health officials want parents to schedule doctor’s visits for kids right away.

“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 doctor visits increased after stay-at-home orders were lifted, the CDC notes vaccination rates still aren’t what they should be.

“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 emphasizes the importance of regular “well visits” for children to make sure they’re growing and developing normally and that they can see and hear well, for example.

“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.”

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Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

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