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How doctors are addressing the drop in childhood vaccinations

CDC reports that routine vaccination numbers have dropped during the coronavirus pandemic
Published: Oct. 1, 2020 at 9:11 AM EDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - As the country waits for a coronavirus vaccine, doctors are warning that children are falling behind on their routine vaccinations.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that from January through April of this year, the number of vaccinations given to patients under the age of 18 dropped by 3 million doses compared to the same time last year.

“There’s some reticence of parents to bring their children to hospital, because they can pick something up, or to the doctor’s offices,” said Dr. Jose Romero, a pediatrician and chair of the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.

Romero said providers across the country are expanding options for routine wellness exams to make sure healthy patients stay healthy when they have to come in.

“Some doctors are splitting their patient population, so that they have ’well care’ in the morning, and then, in the afternoon, they only do sick patients,” Romero said.

Providers can choose to give vaccines through the accelerated immunization schedule. Parents can bring their kids to receive multiple vaccines at one time, so the family doesn’t have to make several trips to the doctor’s office.

“We have that in place,” Romero said. “It’s been proven, and it’s there for people to use, and we’re encouraging them to do so.”

In an effort to make it easier to get your child vaccinated during the pandemic, the federal government is now allowing licensed pharmacists in all 50 states to give vaccines to kids older than 3. They will follow the standard schedule and report back to your pediatrician.

Multimedia Journalist Natalie Grim and Photojournalist/Editor Tyler Smith contributed to this report.

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