Millions of children miss out on routine vaccines during pandemic

Published: Jul. 30, 2021 at 8:47 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - Though much of the conversation as of recent has been focused on COVID vaccines, local health officials want to remind parents about staying up-to-date on their children’s routine vaccinations.

Recent research indicates that millions of children have missed out on routine vaccinations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Immunization data from 1980 to 2019 was analyzed finding that at least 17 million children worldwide likely missed routine vaccinations.

“The drop that we’ve seen in vaccinations is probably due to many offices being closed for prolonged periods of time during the pandemic. And then, for us here in Southwest Louisiana during our other disasters,” Dr. Lacey Cavanaugh said.

Cavanaugh, Region 5 medical director for the Louisiana Department of Health, said children’s routine vaccinations are not only preventatives but help eradicate deadly diseases.

“Anyone who lived through an era when these disease were running ramped in our communities, definitely appreciate how much this has changed life,” Cavanaugh said.

Some of those routine vaccines being required for Louisiana school children.

“So, the biggest vaccines that are required are those 4-year vaccines and the 11-year vaccines. The four-year vaccines are to make sure that we’re ready for school - we’ve got all our stuff done. And then as a pediatrician, we also use that vaccine visit to make sure that our children are growing well, developing well, and are school-ready,” Dr. Lyle Stephenson said.

Stephenson, a pediatrics specialist, said it’s important to help stop and slow the spread of contagious diseases.

“As with any disease right now, if you feel like you are sick or you’ve been around somebody that’s sick, stay away from others,” Stephenson said.

As for COVID-19, both Cavanaugh and Stephenson said they hope to see progress made on approving that vaccination for children under the age of 12 in the near future.

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