KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT/WJHL) -- Childhood vaccination rates have dropped across the country, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Last week, the CDC announced a "notable decrease" in certain childhood vaccines and measles vaccines when a national emergency was declared on March 13 during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a downward trend in pediatric visits in parts of the country.
Director of Infection Prevention Jamie Swift said delayed immunizations for a disease like the measles could bring the illness back into communities, WJHL reported.
“(If) the majority of the population is vaccinated, those vaccinated people typically keep the disease at bay within a community,” Swift said. “So the more people you don’t have vaccinated that umbrella of herd immunity really starts to have cracks in it and the disease can get in and get to the most vulnerable population.”
Swift said the decline of childhood wellness visits and vaccination rates is likely due to parents' hesitancy to take their children to the doctor during the pandemic.
Health experts advised parents to maintain a vaccination schedule for their children to keep herd immunity up within the community.
The CDC recommends that U.S. children receive a two-dose series of measles-containing vaccines at ages 12-15 months and 4-6 years.
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