After the COVID-19 vaccines were approved for emergency use, some parents started doing more research on all routine vaccines and say they have become a bit hesitant to take their children to get the shots.
Pediatricians say being informed is important but warn there is a danger in stopping vaccination entirely.
"COVID has definitely impacted everyone in terms of keeping on their vaccine schedule and we’re definitely probably going to see an increase in vaccine-preventable illnesses because of it," said Dr. Danielle Squires at Kings Bay Pediatrics.
According to a CDC report published last year, data indicates a notable decrease in vaccine ordering and administration for illnesses like measles. Dr. Squires says some parents were worried about leaving home for a checkup at the height of the pandemic, while others have expressed a bit more hesitancy and are asking more questions about vaccination in general.
"I encourage parents to feel educated about what they are giving their children. That’s really important, as a parent that’s the most important thing you can do, but I encourage them to also look at reputable sources and look at scientifically validated information," said Dr. Squires.
Patty Garcia says once the COVID-19 vaccine became available, she started doing more research on all vaccines and adverse reactions her son may have.
“There are certain vaccinations that are on the schedule that I will choose to see more as optional versus something that I would mandate for my son to have," said Garcia.
Garcia’s son is currently up to date on his vaccine schedule, but Garcia says she is keeping a close eye on whether or not schools will eventually mandate the COVID-19 vaccine.
“I’m not anti-vax at all. I’m very pro-vaccination. I believe in medical freedom and as parents, we need to advocate for our children," said Garcia.
Dr. Squires says spacing out the vaccine schedule or entirely opting out can be a very risky situation.
"If we allowed everybody to just choose XYZ vaccine and then let's say they skipped another one, we might find ourselves in a whole 'nother healthcare crisis," said Garcia.
The doctors at Kings Bay Pediatrics say summer is a great time to come in for checkups and make sure your child is up to date on vaccines.