Parents urged to catch kids up on routine vaccines before school resumes

Michigan records ‘dramatic drop’ in routine childhood vaccines amid pandemic

Pandemic precautions triggered a dramatic drop in children's routine vaccinations.

Many children will be heading back to the classroom this fall, as most schools resume in-person learning after going virtual amid the worst of the pandemic.

But since parents, understandably, kept their kids home because of the pandemic, countless children have missed routine vaccinations that prevent against serious diseases. Pandemic precautions sheltered children from those serious diseases and COVID, but with school resuming in just weeks, that protection is gone -- and those routine vaccines are critical.

More: Michigan childhood vaccination rates drop during pandemic

“Routine vaccines kind of got lost in the shuffle, but it’s still very important that you vaccinate your children,” said family nurse practitioner Romika Glenn. “As parents prepare for back to school and possible in-person classes, we’ve been seeing more come in to get caught up on routine childhood vaccinations.”

Though a promising trend, there are still so many kids at risk.

An analysis of 10 states by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that Michigan, Minnesota and New York City all reported dramatic drops in routine childhood vaccines during the first six months of the pandemic. Those vaccines protect against diseases like chickenpox, measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus, diphtheria, whooping cough pneumonias and hepatitis.

“These are preventable illnesses,” Glenn said.

CVS’ MinuteClinics, where Glenn works in Canton, offer most vaccines by appointment or on a walk-in basis seven days a week. Glenn says she is also counseling children eligible for COVID-19 vaccines, those ages 12 and up, on the benefits of getting the shot.

“It’s time to make sure that you are able to keep your child as safe as possible from preventable illnesses,” Glenn said.

Related: Metro Detroit infectious disease specialist supports universal mask wearing in school

It’s important that parents do not wait until the last minute to catch their children up on routine vaccines. It takes time for the protection offered by a vaccine to build up in a person’s system. Also, you can expect appointments at pediatrician’s offices to fill up as school gets closer.

We’re already seeing colds spread quickly through kids -- that means other, more serious viruses can, too.

Related: Michigan wants kids caught up on vaccines after pandemic dip (July 2020)

About the Author:

Dr. McGeorge can be seen on Local 4 News helping Metro Detroiters with health concerns when he isn't helping save lives in the emergency room at Henry Ford Hospital.