Local pediatrician stresses importance of routine immunizations

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The COVID-19 vaccines are front and center, but a pediatrician with Presbyterian is worried parents will put routine immunizations for their children on the backburner.

“We’ve seen a pretty dramatic drop off in parents bringing in their children for their routine immunizations,” said Dr. Alexandra Cvijanovich, who’s also the president of the New Mexico Pediatric Society. “Nationwide, there’s been about a 60% to 80% drop in routine vaccinations for children.”

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show immunizations were on the decline before the pandemic, but not to this level.

“This is concerning because this is the number one public health piece of keeping our communities healthy, apart from COVID,” Cvijanovich said.

Cvijanovich said other pediatricians told her some parents were worried their kids would catch COVID-19 at the doctor’s office. Another reason for the drop is at-home learning. Parents assumed kids weren’t at risk of catching the flu, whooping cough, or other contagious diseases. She said clinics disinfect their offices routinely.

“I do think it’s very important that parents bring their children in for their routine vaccines, so that we don’t see a resurgence of vaccine preventable diseases which will further complicate our lives and put families and children at risk,” she explained.

She knows some parents feel the COVID-19 vaccine came out too soon and might be discouraged from having their kids getting other immunizations.

However, as school starts again in a few months, Cvijanovich said the time to catch up is now.

“If they wait until right before school, it does not give their children’s bodies necessarily enough time to respond to the vaccine before being exposed to other children,” she said.

Parents who got their children vaccinated in New Mexico can call 1 (833) 882-6454 or visit www.VaxViewNM.org to check their immunization records.