Pandemic delays immunizations for school kids


ATLANTA, Ga. (WJBF) – As students head back to in-person learning, doctors say the pandemic is delaying school immunizations and it’s important to get the doses to prevent school outbreaks.

State health leaders want you to be aware of a new Georgia law that impacts rising 11th graders.

A new Georgia law requires all students who are 16-years and older to get the meningitis vaccine.

Ingrid Stier, nurse practitioner at CVS Pharmacy said, “MCV4 is a booster shot is a meningitis shot. That age they are close together or maybe they are going of to college and see meningitis outbreak.”

“Especially with kids going back to school there’s a lot of exposure,” said Jacinta Thomas, family nurse practitioner at CVS Pharmacy.

Meningitis is a viral infection that inflames the brain and spinal cord, and can be deadly.

Stier said, “Immunization rates for back to school are really low and that’s concerning.”

The CDC says the pandemic has delayed routine childhood immunizations because many students weren’t in classrooms.

“I am most concerned about measles, mumps and rubella. All of those immunizations will prevent diseases that are easily spread especially measles  that is super contagious, and it could be spread at school,” said Stier.

Thomas said, “It is important to get these vaccinations to prevent whooping cough, TDAP, things like chicken pox.”

As kids get back to in-person learning, doctors say it’s important to prevent viruses from spreading and the best way to do that is get the recommended immunization shots.

“We depend on herd immunity, our parents, and patients to receive the vaccinations so it doesn’t result in an outbreak,” said Thomas.

With the contagious delta variant, state health leaders also want to urge parents to get their kids who are 12-years and older to get the COVID-19 vaccine, as only 30% of Georgia children have received the dose.

For more information on school immunizations, check the Georgia Department of Health’s website.

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