Doctor warns against 'waiting out pandemic' to get your child updated on other vaccines

It's tough love. From birth to the age of 18 there are a bunch of immunizations the CDC says children need to have. But right now, many are skipping these shots. 
"Parents are just scared. They're scared to bring kids into medical care, they're scared that they come into the hospital or into the clinic they'll be exposed to coronavirus and a lot of them are staying home. They're missing well visits which means they're missing vaccines, but they're also missing cancer screenings, developmental screenings, depression screenings, and so all of these things are just kind of falling by the wayside out of fear of being exposed to coronavirus in the hospital or in the clinics."

Doctor Evelyn Laskowski is a Beaumont Children's Hospital pediatrician who's concerned. A CDC report just found that in Michigan, fewer than half of infants were up-to-date on their vaccines. 

"The CDC just recently listed a report where under 50 percent of children, once they hit five months old, are not fully up-to-date on their vaccines. This extends into older children as well but it does include babies. And what we're really worried about is that kids aren't getting their MMR vaccine and we know that measles is already circulating in the community and we're in danger of dipping below that herd immunity."

From measles to meningitis, these vaccines are meant to protect kids from a long list of diseases. Dr. Laskowski says she understands COVID-19 concerns but she says pediatricians know how to protect children even during this coronavirus crisis. 

"Most pediatrician's offices are actually making plans specifically to get these well children into the office and keep them well. So if they are fortunate enough to have multiple locations then they will have one location just for sick children and one location just for the well visits so that your well baby stays a well baby when you leave the office. If offices don't have multiple locations they'll have well visits just in the morning and only sick visits in the afternoon. There will be very thorough cleanings, leaving rooms empty for potentially a full hour or even longer if there's a sick child in that room before another child goes in that room. Some of them are actually taking vaccines out to the car to be able to completely avoid exposure in the office and making sure that the children are staying immunized without really being able to leave their vehicle."

Dr. Laskowski strongly advises against "waiting out the pandemic" to get your child up-to-date on vaccines. 

"These vaccines are preventing illnesses that are circulating in the community now and it is important to do them now and on time so that we can get these kids protected as early as possible and to keep them as safe as possible."

Researchers are currently looking into whether vaccines may or may not affect the risk of COVID-19 when it comes to children.