ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — While many people have tried to avoid doctor’s offices and hospitals, medical experts are encouraging parents to do just the opposite when it comes to their children’s vaccines.

What You Need To Know

  • Doctors seeing vaccine rates dropping as appointments get postponed

  • Drop in rates raising concerns about potential outbreaks of other diseases

  • Keeping vaccines up to date helps doctors diagnose children who become ill, helps formulate treatment

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Dr. Rachel Dawkins of Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital said keeping up with children's vaccines is vital, especially now.

“Right now, parents worried about coming into the office or making sure they have their visits with their doctor,” she explained. "They’re not sure if they should postpone them but what we’re seeing is by postponing them our vaccine rates are getting lower and we may have outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases.”

That, Dawkins went on to explain, is the last thing we need during a pandemic.

“We could very well see across the country outbreaks of measles, which has happened in the past," she said. 

So how can we protect our children? 

“In the state of Florida, we think about kindergarten or seventh grade as times we make sure kids are up to date on their vaccines," Dawkins said. "So if your child is about to enter kindergarten in august or seventh grade, now is a really good time to make sure they’re up to date on their vaccines."

For most parents, this process isn’t anything new. But if you’re not sure, Dawkins said call your pediatrician and see if your child is up to date on their vaccinations.

“The immunization to these other diseases won’t protect your child from coronavirus because that’s a totally different virus,” she said. “But knowing that your child doesn’t have something like whooping cough or measles because they had the vaccine helps us to decide what do we think your child may be sick with if they do come down with an illness.”