BACK TO SCHOOL: Doctor urges parents to stay up to date on childhood vaccinations

Back to School
Published: Aug. 22, 2022 at 8:01 AM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - As kids are getting ready to head back into the classroom, it’s important to keep children up to date on their regularly scheduled vaccinations.

The latest data from Wisconsin Department of Health Services shows the overall decrease in children getting vaccinated for vaccine-preventable diseases, like measles, mumps, and rubella.

“The bottom line is vaccines prevent vaccine-preventable diseases,” pediatric endocrinologist Dr. Sonal Chandratre said.

The most recent data from DHS compares the number of vaccines administered from the years before the pandemic. So 2015-2019, to the data from the years following, so 2020-2022. The data shows more than 58,000 vaccines were given to children aged 5-18 from July 2015-2019. In July 2022, that number was 36,770. That’s is a 37% decrease.

“The way families should look at this is: prevention is better than cure. You don’t want to go through the path of cure, because that’s never pleasant. It will be a challenge in one way or the other. Yes, maybe you will have a positive outcome. But you don’t want to go through all that suffering,” Dr. Chandratre explained.

The largest decrease in vaccinations administered happened between March and April 2020. But now, Dr. Chandratre said the road to recovery is maximizing efforts.

“At least having the kids vaccinated for the rest of the diseases, gives you a better hand, upper hand over COVID-19, which is more unpredictable with the kind of strains that are coming up and new strains that are coming up. At least your immunity is better because you don’t have any other diseases.”

She said efforts should be focused on prevention including maintaining a healthy lifestyle, getting enough sleep at night, focusing on mental health and eating and drinking healthy foods to boost immunity.

“If you have to get into a battle, at least have all your bases covered and make sure that you’re armored if you’re not armored, going into a battle, I mean, it’s a no-brainer that you will suffer. But with vaccines preventing these vaccine-preventable diseases, it’s like you’re wearing armor, and then you’re going in, which means you only have to now focus on well whether my child has COVID-19 Or is it the new monkey pox now or any other newer variant or anything that is unpredictable.”

Overall, Dr. Chandratre said she remains positive because there has been improvement since the last time NewsChannel 7 covered the decrease in April. She said she encourages conversations to be had if there are any questions or hesitancy.