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New KDHE data shows fewer children have up-to-date vaccine shots



TOPEKA, Kan. – New data from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment shows fewer children may be up-to-date on mandatory vaccinations this year.

According to KDHE, from January to July, the state’s orders for federal vaccines fell 21 percent compared to 2019.

”We have seen a pretty dramatic drop off in vaccine ordering data this year,” the Director of Bureau of Disease Control and Prevention with KDHE, Phil Griffin said.

Griffin with says Kansas health facilities ordered fewer vaccines this year, “we know the pandemic has impacted our ability this year for people to be vaccinated, and a lot of practices were not operating at regular opportunity at that point, and people had concerns about being out and going to a physician’s office.”

KDHE says since March fewer kids have been vaccinated, and as students return back to school, it could lead to outbreaks, besides COVID-19.

“Those could be anything to from pertussis, to we can have mumps, we can have measles, we can have any number of vaccine preventable disease outbreaks occur,” Griffin agrees with lower vaccination rates, it could lead to other infectious disease outbreaks. “It always takes one case that a vaccine preventable disease can spread very rapidly.”

While state law requires students to receive certain vaccinations before going back to school, no one should worry.

“Those requirements have not been relaxed as a requirement for school,” Griffin emphasized. “School nurses are checking those records as children are entering back into school.”

Griffin says with flu season approaching, it’s important to get your vaccine early, “there are often many of the similar symptoms with flu and with COVID-19, and so your likelihood to being more vulnerable to COVID is going to be increased.”

“It’s important that we do everything we can to keep our body healthiest as possible, all of these vaccines play a roll in that particularly children that are more vulnerable to some of these vaccine preventable diseases,” Griffin explained.

Griffin recommends parents check with their doctors to make sure their children are on schedule for vaccinations before returning to school.