Parents urged to keep up with immunizations amid coronavirus pandemic

TACOMA -- The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting a significant drop in vaccine immunizations since the coronavirus was declared a national emergency in March.

Millions of children are missing vaccine shots that prevent disease, including measles, mumps and rubella and whooping cough.

“We’ve done an awful lot to keep families safe, keep the kids safe, when they come in,” said Dr. David Bachman, Chief Medical and Quality Officer at Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital.

Bachman said families have been reluctant to leave the safety net of their homes, but he assures that the clinics are dong everything they can to make sure it’s a safe and sterile environment.

“We’re practicing social distancing. We’re checking our staff. We’re checking parents. We’re checking the children when they come in to make sure they’re not sick,” said Dr. Bachman. “We see many fewer cases of meningitis. We don’t see chicken pox like we used to in the past. We rarely see measles, although we’ve seen outbreaks in the state.”

Neal Browning from Bothell is one of the first in the country to volunteer in an experimental Covid-19 vaccine trial.

“My mother being a registered nurse, my fiancé is a registered nurse now, it was never an option,” said Browning. “Nobody likes needles. It’s going to hurt for a minute. You’re going to get stuck but it’s going to protect you.”

Naturally, there was no question over whether or not his daughter would get her immunizations on time.

“They just need to know, this is what keeps you safe, and as a parent it’s my job to do everything I can to make you as safe as possible,” said Browning.

Dr. Bachman said a strong push is expected this fall over flu shots, and he hopes it won’t be much longer before a proven vaccine is developed for Covid-19.

“I’ve seen remarkable changes in the diseases we see over the years because of the advent and availability of new vaccines,” said Bachman.