Updated: August 07, 2020 05:26 PM
Created: August 07, 2020 02:43 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- As parents get their kids ready for the start of the school year, doctors are reminding them to make sure children are up-to-date on their vaccines.
Dr. David Scrase, cabinet secretary of the New Mexico Human Services Department, said there has been a 20% decrease in child vaccinations since 2019.
Doctors warn that unvaccinated children could lead to an outbreak of an illness that is preventable with a proven vaccine.
“We've seen that we had a measles outbreak in the last couple years in a few different places, and that is very hard on patients, and on families and on the healthcare system,” explained Dr. Alexandra Cvijanovich, a pediatrician with Presbyterian. “Then if we think about arise and other diseases in addition to COVID, I think that it makes for a perfect storm of some significantly ill children and adults.”
Children need different vaccines-- depending on their age.
“For our teenagers, we're talking about the whooping cough vaccine, we're talking about two different meningitis vaccines and we're talking about the HPV vaccine,” explained Dr. Cvijanovich. “For our younger children, we're talking about the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine, chickenpox, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, whooping cough, polio, pneumococcal vaccine, etc.”
Providers understand there's concern about going to the doctor right now because of COVID-19, but they are taking precautions to make sure everyone stays safe.
Rooms are sanitized after every visit, and masks are required.
“Our regular illnesses, that we see as pediatricians out in the community, are still out there, we still see whooping cough, there's still risks of Hepatitis A and HPV and all the other vaccine-preventable diseases that we see in Albuquerque and in New Mexico are still around,” said Dr. Cvijanovich. “I think it's sometimes hard to remember that there's anything else going on in the world besides COVID, and I also think it's important to bring in kids for sick visits and not put off care like that, because there is a risk if you wait too long with a sick child that they could get too sick, and if it can compromise their care.”
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