Even if school is virtual, you still need shots

Back to School

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) – Whether or not your child is going to class in-person, they need to be up to date with immunizations. Those shots are required to register.

So, if you have a new Kindergartner or seventh-grader, you need to make that appointment and doctors say you’ll want to do it soon since so many patients have put it off.

Dr. Douglas Mitchell, Director of the CHKD Medical Group told WAVY.com that practices saw a dramatic drop off in the number of kids coming in when the COVID-19 stay at home orders began in March. “Those are definitely coming back up, (but) we’re still behind where we have been in previous years.”

Now time is running out to get the shots for school and while local health departments usually hold back to school immunization clinics, this year you will need to make an appointment either with your health department or pediatrician.

If you’re concerned about taking your child to get immunizations during the pandemic, Dr. Mitchell assures that local offices are safe. They’ve put measures in place to separate sick and well children and screen everyone at the door. He says there is little reason to believe a child would get sick in a doctor’s office and more reason to believe that we could see an outbreak of other diseases if we fall below herd immunity. “If you get below and don’t get the rates back up for measles we could have a measles outbreak,” said Dr. Mitchell.

He puts it in perspective, saying while COVID is potentially deadly, kids have a far less chance of getting any complications from it than diseases like measles, chickenpox, and pertussis, which are more often deadly for kids.

“We’ve got to pay attention to all the things, we can’t just have our blinders on and only worry about one thing at a time.”

Pediatricians are also highly recommending flu shots this year. Health experts fear hospitals could become overcrowded caring for both flu and COVID patients.

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