Milwaukee doctors urge parents to make sure kids are up to date with vaccines
MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Local leaders and health officials are calling on parents to prioritize updating their children's immunization records, as rates have dropped significantly nationwide since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Whether it's due to missed doctors' appointments, challenges with access, or misinformation about the safety of vaccines," said Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley at a press conference Monday.
Data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows a concerning decline in childhood immunizations that began in March 2020.
Crowley says health is a priority and parents need to know the consequences that could unfold if their kids are not up to date with their shots.
"As we continue to talk about getting (COVID-19) booster shots and flu shots, we want to make sure that everybody else are thinking about those immunization shots around those other deadly diseases," he added.
Milwaukee County Chief Health Policy Advisor Dr. Ben Weston said an estimated 4 million deaths globally are prevented by childhood vaccinations. If kids continue to fall behind on routine vaccines, it won't just be dangerous---it'll be deadly.
"When we look particularly at vaccines recommended for all children, the facts are that these vaccines are incredible safe, they've been proven incredibly safe over decades, over generations of children, and they're effective," said Dr. Weston. "Polio, measles, mumps, rubella, these are infectious diseases that as a medical student, I had to read about in books, because we just don't see them in our communities anymore with the advent of vaccines."
Doctors like Dr. Emilia Arana from Sixteenth Street Clinic, fear that if the trend continues, life-threatening diseases that haven't been on the map for years will come back and spread more easily.
"When in doubt, come to your provider, go to your doctor and ask all the questions you need to ask about the vaccines," she urged.
Some schools offer free shots with their school clinic, otherwise pediatricians will have the immunization schedule and can administer vaccines.
Experts say it's never too late to catch up on vaccines that might have been put off, regardless of how many years have gone by.