TUCSON, Ariz. — In our newest KGUN9 special, Safely Back to School, we take a look at how parents are now tackling up-to-date vaccinations and immunizations.
“We are not seeing as much of a rush this year as we normally do,” said Dr. Gretchen Hull, the Arizona American Academy of Pediatrics board president and a Tucson pediatrician.
Traditionally during the summer months, pediatricians see an influx of children into their offices to get up to date on their vaccinations. But this year, Hull says, the volume of kids coming in has dropped.
“I'm not sure if our decrease in numbers is because of fear of just leaving the home and coming into the doctor's office. It's been a little surprising how many families have been very afraid and are just now starting to come out as we get closer to school starting,” said Hull.
Despite the lower numbers being seen, Hull encourages parents to get their kids in to stay up to date on the recommended vaccinations. Aside from staying healthier overall, she says, with COVID-19 prevalent, it is best to have several layers of protection, so you and your children don’t get multiple illnesses at once.
“You can have flu and COVID at the same time. And that was happening in March and April. So we were seeing people that had both and it was hard to tease out, which was the worst infection at the time. So it is important that they vaccinated against what we can vaccinate against and we know that the flu vaccine, while not perfect, absolutely does give some protection,” said Hull.
Offices, such as Hulls, are currently discussing whether to have more accessible flu clinics once this year’s strain becomes available.
But in the meantime, she highly encourages all children receive the vaccinations they are due for, despite in-person or online learning.
“Our offices are safe and we’re keeping them clean and minimizing exposures. So it is very safe to come in and do that, and we are much more concerned about our children not receiving the vaccines that they need and and have imagined having a different infection at the same time as having COVID that could have been prevented,” said Hull.