AUSTIN (KXAN) — Texas plans to welcome students back to school, in-person, in the fall. But some pediatricians fear too few children have received routine immunizations.
Dr. Donald Murphey, a pediatrician at Dell Children’s Medical Center, said demand hasn’t really increased since the Centers for Disease Control reported a 2.5 million decline in non-influenza child vaccine orders from January to April.
“Kids need their well-child care, including immunizations,” Murphey said. “People are a little anxious about interacting with big groups of people, which is good, but also interacting with medical care.”
For uninsured families, Austin Public Health has a few slots remaining in July for child immunizations after working through a waiting list earlier in the summer.
Health departments, according to Immunization Project President Allison Winnike, have limited resources during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’re looking to see what are some things that we can do as a community, as Texans, to open up access,” Winnike said.
Pharmacies could be the answer but, in Texas, they’re only allowed to immunize children 7 years-old and older.
“What we’re looking at is not only fighting the coronavirus but then fighting other outbreaks,” Winnike said.
“You could have things like a measles outbreak, you could have a mumps outbreak,” Murphey said. “I don’t think those things are going to happen but those things do happen in countries where you don’t have good immunization rates.”