ATLANTA — Well past one year with the COVID-19 pandemic, doctors have come together to encourage parents to stay on top of their children’s immunizations.
Andrea Stubbs with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital told Channel 2′s Wendy Corona that she is optimistic in a time when statistics show a slide in vaccination rates due to the ongoing pandemic — especially with adolescent children as compared to younger ones.
“It definitely is time to catch up. We can do this,” Stubbs said.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as of August 2021, the recommended vaccinations for meningitis were down 13.7%.
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Whooping Cough and TDAP were down 16.7%. And HPV vaccines were down 18.4%.
In 2019, the CDC said 54% of adolescents were up to date with their HPV vaccination series which is known to provide protection against cancers of the mouth, throat, anus, cervix, vulva and vagina.
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Once thought only for females, the vaccine was approved for males in 2011.
“We’re really trying to change the conversation so that people just don’t associate HPV related vaccines with young girls, but also associated with boys,” Stubbs said.
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Especially with an uptick in males with throat and mouth cancer. A two-shot series can possibly start as early as age 9, and three shots for ages 15 and up.
Wellness visits are also an opportune time to get children 12 and older a COVID-19 shot, along with other missed immunizations.
The main message: get caught up.
“So that we don’t have converging pandemics in the years to come because of these missed vaccinations,” Stubbs said.
Stubbs told Corona that when doctors offer vaccinations at wellness visits, parents and caregivers are more likely to get the vaccine that day than if they were left to seek it out for themselves.
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