Doctors at Allina Health concerned about drop in routine pediatric vaccinations

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As the country is focused on the rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it’s seeing a decline in routine pediatric vaccinations.

The CDC recommends 14 different vaccinations for children, and in the last year, it’s seen historic lows in the number of doses being administered. Childhood vaccination orders dropped by 11 million doses, according to the CDC.

Pediatricians at Allina Health say they’re concerned about the drop here in Minnesota.

"The kids who are most likely to get behind are the younger children who get vaccines more often. There are vaccines given at 2 months and 4 months and 6 months of age, and so those were the ones that were more likely to get behind and unfortunately, those are the kids who are most vulnerable," Dr. Eric Barth, a pediatrician at Allina Health’s Ramsey Clinic said.

The vaccinations he’s most concerned about children not getting are measles and chickenpox immunizations.

"We’ve seen this in other areas of the country in recent years where if there’s a community where the immunization rate falls below a certain level — a lot of people are hearing that term ‘herd immunity’ — and if the immunization rate falls below that rate, then you can have an outbreak of measles," Barth said.

Minnesota saw a measles outbreak in 2017, and Barth said that’s what doctors are trying to avoid. Luckily, he said, if your child has missed an immunization, it is easy to get them caught up.

"I don’t want anybody to be intimidated and think, ‘Oh, my child is so far behind. How are we ever going to catch up?’ And the answer is we can catch the child up on their vaccinations. That’s no problem," he said.