Your kids may not be in the classroom, but it’s still important they get vaccinated

ATLANTA — One of the newer issues doctors have found during the COVID-19 pandemic is families may have forgotten to get their children vaccinated before school starts.

Channel 2 anchor Jorge Estevez spoke with a pediatrician about which diseases everyone needs protection against.

It's widely known that immunizations are down 50% since the beginning of the year. From March to April, some 2.5 million fewer people were being vaccinated.

“That is dangerous because it means that very preventable, very serious diseases could be on the at the increase. Measles could be on the increase, and that’s readily preventable,” Wellstar Health System Chief Pediatric Officer Dr. Avril Beckford said.

“What message do you have now for parents and people about going to the doctor and getting immunizations?” Estevez asked Beckford.

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“The first thing is that I’m really proud that parents are improving and coming into the office. That’s fantastic. Our immunization rates are improving. They’re doing a great service to their children for preventable illnesses. Offices are safe. We’ve probably one of the safest places to go at all. And in addition to which, we want grandparents to be sure they’re up to date with their checkouts and their immunizations for their own safety,” Beckford said.

“At one point it was illegal to not get immunizations, but then that was relaxed. Where do you stand out as a medical professional?” Estevez asked Beckford.

“We don’t want any waivers that halt requirements for essential immunizations for schools. Even though children are at home, it’s critically important that they’re immunized against these important things.

For example, the 16-year-old absolutely needs that meningitis booster and the tetanus booster,”

Beckford said. “So we feel it’s critical to stay on the absolute accurate schedule according to the CDC and the Academy of Pediatrics.”