Pediatricians say children still need crucial vaccines and the flu shot, amid the pandemic

Dr. Christopher Pierce says his office and others have taken social distancing measures to ensure the safety of children.
Published: Aug. 19, 2020 at 7:53 AM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Recent studies show childhood vaccinations have dropped off since the coronavirus has been spreading in the U.S.

Some parents are still nervous about taking their kids to see the pediatrician.

However, pediatricians say they still need to see your kids for routine health maintenance.

Among the most crucial vaccines children need are the T-Dap, MMR, and polio and chicken pox when kids first start kindergarten or Pre-K.

For incoming 6th graders, tetanus, meningitis and the recommended HPV vaccine join the list.

And a booster dose of T-dap is now required for all students entering the 7th grade.

For parents who might be nervous about taking their children to the doctor’s office, there are new measures for social distancing.

For instance, no more waiting in the lobby.

Dr. Christopher Pierce is a pediatrician with Carilion Pediatric Associates. “Within Carilion Children’s we’ve changed flows, and I’m sure offices everywhere are doing it. Most of them have kids waiting in the parking lot or get them straight to an exam room, so there’s no crossover.”

While his office isn’t seeing a lot of sniffles right now, Dr. Pierce has a reminder for families: get the flu shot.

He expects it'll become available in September.

“Even those who have been hestitant in the past, I highly recommend getting the flu vaccine this year, just realizing we have the pandemic, if we can keep some of the preventable epidemic- y diseases away, then that would be so big,” says Dr. Pierce.

The main takeaway for parents: do what you can to prevent what you can.

“The more things that we can keep contained, the easier it will be do potentially to contain the coronavirus.”

Click here for details on required immunizations in Virginia public schools.

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