Alarming number of children falling behind on wellness checks, routine childhood vaccinations ::

As young children wait to be considered for a COVID-19 vaccine, doctors are shedding light on another concern.

Pediatricians say many children don’t get their regular wellness checkups and routine childhood vaccinations.

By law, children must receive several age-appropriate vaccines, such as measles, before they can attend public school.

Doctors said the dip could be due to parents fearing catching the coronavirus in the doctor’s office or hesitation about the vaccine.

As face-to-face instruction begins in several Triangle public school districts, it is routine for doctors and nurses to check vaccination records when a child is enrolled in a school system.

dr. Lori Langdon, a pediatrician in Harnett County, said the pandemic is leaving students with routine vaccines for diseases such as measles, mumps and rubella.

“We’ve seen a 6-18% drop in vaccinations across the country for all ages, but it varies,” explains Langdon.

The World Health Organization estimates that by 2020, 23 million children will have missed primary childhood vaccinations – the highest number since 2009 and 2.7 million more in 2019.

Langdon said it is important for children to get their routine injections to prevent an outbreak of vaccine-preventable diseases.

“To promote public education [the] safest environment possible, we must ensure that children are all masked and vaccinated, according to their age group recommendations,” she said.

Doctors at the American Academy of Pediatrics launched a social media campaign called #CallYourPediatrician to encourage parents to remember to schedule checkups for their children.

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