Health providers report steep decline in childhood vaccinations due to the COVID-19 pandemic

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There has been a steep decline in childhood vaccinations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and health officials have warned that a lack of vaccinations against once controlled contagious diseases puts communities at risk.

Millions of children have missed their routine vaccinations this year, as the pandemic has prompted Americans to postpone or avoid receiving the shots.

Yvonne Maldonado is the Chief of Infectious Disease at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital and professor of Pediatrics and Health at Stanford University, and she told KCBS Radio that she is “really worried” about kids not getting vaccinated, and warned that communities at risk are losing protection against highly contagious diseases.

“Diseases like meningitis, which are terrifying diseases,” she said “The things that I saw when I was in training that I really don’t want to see happen again.”

According to the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, 40 percent of parents and legal guardians reported their children missed vaccinations due to the pandemic.

Maldonado emphasized that timeliness is key and suggested guardians touch base with their providers if they feel uncomfortable to find out what providers are doing to ensure safety.

“We really want to focus on prevention,” she said. “Prevention is clearly much better than waiting for someone to get sick.”

Measles, whooping cough and polio are all preventable.