DETROIT – As the COVID-19 numbers climb pediatricians are growing increasingly concerned about the falling number of children receiving their childhood vaccines.
As more children fall behind the risk of other illnesses surfacing becomes more serious here in Michigan and around the globe.
The World Health Organization sounded the alarm saying, “the avoidable suffering and death caused by children missing out on routine immunizations could be far greater than COVID-19 itself.”
It’s a sobering sentiment shared by Dr. Banu Kumar from DMC Children’s Hospital of Michigan.
“Protecting them from other nasty diseases is even more important during the pandemic,” said Kumar.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention found vaccination rates for children in Michigan have dropped more than 20 percent since March.
As children begin to leave their homes more, they’re vulnerable to illnesses like whooping cough, measles, and more.
“If they don’t get these vaccinations in a timely manner, you are putting them at risk of contracting these diseases. Just because they’re staying indoors, and they’re not going out of home doesn’t mean that they’re protected because they need to develop the antibodies to protect them against those diseases,” added Kumar.
She says protecting children from the flu will also be even more important with the dual threat of COVID-19.
“Much more critical that we get flu shots for ourselves and our children starting this fall,” she said.
Her advice for anyone with kids who’ve missed vaccines is to call their doctors and find out how they can do so safely. Do not wait because we don’t know how long the wait is going to be.
Child visits have also fallen dramatically, down 50 percent by some estimates. That means other health issues may be going unnoticed.
Pediatricians are urging parents to call their office and find out what safety precautions are in place.