Vaccination Rates Drop Due to COVID-19, Doctors Worry Preventable Disease Could be Next Pandemic

Survey finds ⅔ of parents nervous to take kids to pediatrician’s office for routine visits like vaccination

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(ORLANDO, Florida) – A new national survey by Orlando Health finds while the vast majority of parents believe vaccines are the best way to prevent diseases, two-thirds are still nervous to take their children to their pediatrician’s office for routine wellness visits due to COVID-19. This has led to low vaccination rates, which experts warn could create a very dangerous situation when kids return to school and other public places. The survey also found that skepticism about vaccines is still a major issue, with 38 percent of parents responding that they don’t believe their children need all the vaccinations recommended by their pediatrician.

     “All it will take is a case of measles entering our community and we will see loss of life that is completely and totally unnecessary,” said Alix Casler, MD, a pediatrician and chair of the Department of Pediatrics for Orlando Health Physician Associates. “It can be hard for people to grasp just how important universal vaccinations are because they’ve never seen how devastating these diseases can be. Measles and whooping cough outbreaks are a thing of the past thanks to vaccines and we’d like to keep it that way.”

     Casler, like most physicians, has implemented protocols to keep patients as safe as possible during in-person visits. She is reaching out to patient families who are behind on their scheduled vaccinations to get them caught up before they go back into schools and other public places, something she says should be a priority everywhere, especially in areas hit hard by COVID-19. 

     “Overall childhood vaccine rates are down to potentially dangerous levels, probably because of access issues – parents being either unable or fearful of accessing medical care and preventative vaccinations for their children,” Casler said. “The only reason that we currently have herd immunity to many of these diseases is because upwards of 90 to 95 percent of children are vaccinated. Once we drop below that level, no one will be presumed safe.” 

      While the survey found that 74 percent of parents are much more concerned about COVID-19 than the flu, it’s  important to remember to take the whole family for their annual flu shots when it becomes available. Being vaccinated will help take yet another dangerous and largely preventable virus off the table while the nation continues to battle COVID-19.


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4-year-old Clayton Curry receives his annual flu shot. Alix Casler, MD of Orlando Health says vaccination rates have plummeted amid the COVID-19 pandemic and she’s working with families to get caught up on immunizations before kids head back to school.

AJ Velasco is excited to start kindergarten, but his parents worry about COVID-19 as well as other infectious diseases as he heads to school. Vaccination rates have decreased amid the pandemic, creating the potential for dangerous and preventable childhood diseases to become a threat.

Alix Casler, MD, and her staff sanitize all exam rooms between patients. It’s one of many precautions they take to keep patients safe from COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, but a new national survey by Orlando Health finds two-thirds of parents are still nervous to take their kids to their pediatrician’s office.

Alix Casler, MD, has a wellness visit with 4-year-old Clayton Curry. Casler says it is crucial to stay up-to-date on vaccinations as kids prepare to return to schools and other public places to prevent the threat of other infectious diseases on top of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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