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Health experts: Fewer childhood vaccines given during pandemic

Dr. Webber with Lexington Pediatric Practice says she has noticed a decline in vaccination rates after the pandemic started.

LEXINGTON, S.C. — Some parents and children are understandably anxious about the upcoming school year because of COVID-19.

We took some concerns and questions to Dr. Caroline Webber, a pediatrician with Lexington Pediatric Practice. 

Is it safe for children to get immunizations?

"Definitely," said Dr. Webber. "And there some vaccines that are still required for children to have and to go to school."

 She says they have recently seen a decline in child vaccination coverage. 

"Unfortunately, we have seen that when the COVID-19 pandemic started children began to miss some of their well visits," said Dr. Webber. "We've already noticed a decline in vaccination rates and so it's really important, especially heading back into school, that children have what they need to help stay protected from some of those vaccine-preventable illnesses."

This a trend that health experts are seeing across the country. According to the Centers for Disease Control, fewer childhood vaccines have been given during the pandemic. The organization also says vaccinations are needed to avoid vaccine-preventable diseases and keep children safe. 

Is the flu vaccine safe for children?

"Unfortunately we think this year they'll probably be both flu and COVID-19 circulating in the community in the fall and winter," said Dr. Webber. "It's especially important, maybe even potentially more important this year, for children to get their flu vaccine because we know that's at least one illness we can have some impact on decreasing the rate of.”

Should parents be concerned about taking their kids to a doctor's office during this pandemic?

"I would reassure families that there's a lot of safety measures put in place so that you can feel comfortable coming into the office for vaccinations, well visits, sports physicals," said Dr. Webber. "That you can feel comfortable doing that because of multiple measures that are taking place including extra cleaning and physically separating sick and well patients and different appointment times for those different populations as well."

Should children take multivitamins?

Dr. Webber says this a popular question. She said, "Whether it be in a pandemic or not, I think  the answer is still the same.If your child is otherwise healthy and eating a normal, pretty balanced diet then a multivitamin is not necessarily recommended."