Anita Henderson, MD, discusses sharp decline in childhood immunizations with WDAM, WHLT and MPB
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many families have missed their kids’ well visits, which means children are missing routine vaccinations for highly contagious diseases, such as measles, mumps and polio. A recent Blue Cross Blue Shieldstudy found a 26% drop in vaccines in 2020, causing concern for pediatricians.
Anita S. Henderson, MD, pediatrician at Hattiesburg Clinic The Pediatric Clinic and president of the Mississippi Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics, spoke with WDAM, WHLT and Mississippi Public Broadcasting about the significant decrease in childhood immunizations in 2020.
“We are really concerned that there are millions of children in the United States who aren’t up to date on their vaccinations,” Henderson said. “We want parents to know that there are other things that we’re doing during those children’s checkups, including developmental screens, depression screens and talking about school and anxiety.”
“We really are trying to encourage families to think about whether they had a checkup for their child in the last year, and if not, go ahead and call and get an appointment with your pediatrician now.”
Henderson encouraged parents to keep up with their child’s immunization record to avoid a potential outbreak, like the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It will help your child’s senior year, it will help your child’s college experience in order to not only prevent disease, but it’s also going to prevent those disruptions where the football team gets quarantined,” Henderson said. “If your team is vaccinated, if your roommate is vaccinated, if your college fraternity or sorority is vaccinated, you’re going to prevent all those disruptions that we have seen over the last year.”
Recently, the focus has been on the COVID-19 vaccine, but parents must remember to stay current with their child’s vaccine schedule in order to prevent an entirely different disease from spreading.
If your child has missed any of their vaccines, contact your pediatrician or visit www.hattiesburgclinic.com. You can also visit the CDC’s website to view the recommended catch-up immunization schedule.