“The big thing that scares me is just kids are now at risk for getting a vaccine-preventable disease.”
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKNR) — With so many students learning from home, doctors across Middle Tennessee are seeing fewer children getting their back-to-school immunizations.
Dr. Joseph Gigante, professor of pediatrics at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital said:
“Clearly a trend that we’re seeing is families are missing their appointments. And when we have been in touch with some of these families, they’re just afraid.
“One of the unintended consequences of that has been this marked decrease in immunization rates.”
According to state officials, vaccination rates have recently dropped by as much as 40%.
“We have a lot of 4 to 6-year-olds that are missing their second measles vaccine because of COVID-19,” said Dr. Michelle Fiscus, director of the Tennessee Vaccine Preventable Diseases and Immunization Program.
“When we start to see those immunization coverage rates drop below 95% that is where we can start to see measles take off in communities.”
This also brings down protection for children who can’t get vaccines, like kids who are immunocompromised.
“There’s a lot of providers who’ve actually never seen a case of chickenpox, so that’s one that we could see come back,” Dr. Fiscus said … Read more.