LYCOMING COUNTY, Pa. — According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, vaccinations among kindergarten-aged children are down nationwide. These include vaccines for measles, mumps, rubella, polio, chickenpox, tetanus, and more. Only about 93 percent of kids are getting their vaccines.
"The number sounds small, 7 percent, but 7 percent is almost like 250,000 to 270,000 kids will not get their vaccines," said Dr. Rutul Dalal.
Newswatch 16 sat down with Dr. Dalal, an infectious disease expert at UPMC, to discuss the importance of these vaccines.
"A life-or-death situation for these kids, or it can prevent permanent disability among your kids. It is important not to have biased views against vaccines," added Dr. Dalal.
Many of these vaccinations are required to attend school. However, experts believe misinformation regarding COVID vaccines has contributed to the problem.
"Some people say, 'My kid got autism,' but it has nothing to do with the vaccine, but they will still percolate that information in the community, and it will spread like wildfire, causing trouble," he added.
The majority of families who did not get their children vaccinated did so for non-medical reasons, according to the CDC. Unlike COVID and flu vaccines, shots for measles, mumps, polio, and more don't limit the severity of the infection; they completely deter it.
"These vaccines are very safe. For many years, they have been used, and they are absolutely very effective. We are talking about 92 percent at the minimum," explained Dr. Dalal.
If you would like to schedule your child for any of the required vaccines, talk to your local pediatrician.
See more Healthwatch 16 stories on YouTube.