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Children vaccine rates drop due to coronavirus fears

The state of California will work with schools to make sure there is a strategy in place when parents with unvaccinated kids plan to go back to school.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — As the coronavirus continues to threaten lives around the world, there is growing concern that other serious but preventable infections are being ignored.

Even as California Governor Gavin Newsom considers whether to start the school year earlier — as early as July or August — there is a question over how districts will handle parents whose children are not being vaccinated during the pandemic.

San Diego Kaiser pediatrician Brian O'Loughlin said some parents are simply too afraid of the coronavirus exposure to bring their kids into the doctor's office. Experts are warning the sudden drop in vaccination rates could expose children to serious, and preventable diseases. 

New national data from PCC - a pediatric health records company - found that during the week of April 5, the administration of measles mumps and rubella shots dropped by 50%.

Dr. O'Loughlin said most of the parents in his office see the value of vaccines now more than ever.

“I’ve spoken to a lot of people. This fright has made them see that vaccines are worthwhile, and people want to come in,” he said.

In California, children are required to be vaccinated, or have a medical exemption, to attend school. 

San Diego mom Lucero Mot wonders how schools will deal with parents skipping vaccines due to coronavirus fears.

“I am concerned of the kids not being vaccinated because I have a baby. [I]
know that they're going to have to make some arrangements for kids who don't have vaccines yet,” she said.

In a statement to News 8, Gov. Newsom's spokesman Jesse Melgar said:

"The question is among the many implementation issues the administration will be working through with school districts, employees, parents and other relevant parties."

“I think following the CDC guidelines is the most important thing we can all do,” said O’Loughlin.

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