Pediatricians concerned about missed vaccines during stay-at-home orders

DETROIT – Pediatricians are sounding the alarm about a concerning trend.

Because of the stay-at-home orders, the number of children falling behind on their vaccinations has risen dramatically.

Prior to the pandemic, about 66% of Michigan children were up-to-date on all of their vaccines. A new study from the CDC found that in May, that number dropped to fewer than half.

“He was going to turn 15 months, and leading up to those weeks I was just nervous,” said Local 4 anchor and reporter Kimberly Gill. “I kept going back and forth saying, ‘I’m not going to take him. I’m going to take him. I’m not going to take him.'”

But knowing his 18-month shots weren’t far off, Kimberly didn’t want Basil to fall behind.

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“I actually went online and found a place that I could buy a mask for a little kid,” Kimberly said. “Because I said, ‘OK, if I do take him, I’m going to put a mask on him. I’m going to hold him tight and I’m going to protect him.’”

Dr. David Obudzinski, a pediatrician with Beaumont Health said he’s concerned by how many children have already missed critical vaccines -- especially for whooping cough and measles, two serious illnesses that routinely pop up in Michigan.

“I think the key is protecting your children from what we can protect them from,” Obudzinski said. “Infants under a year of age have a harder time with whooping cough. They can get serious respiratory disease and die from it. Every year, there’s been quite a few outbreaks of measles.”

Kimberly decided to take Basil and was reassured by all of the new safety measures before they stepped in the door.

“My pediatrician asked us to call as soon as we got into the parking lot," Kimberly said. “And they also asked us to stay in the car until the patient before us was gone so that they could sanitize the room.”

Childhood vaccines are timed to protect children when they are most vulnerable to specific illnesses, so it’s really important to get in and get caught up as soon as possible.

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