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The Berrien County Health Department is once again urging parents to make sure their children are up to date on their vaccinations. Berrien County Health Officer Guy Miller tells us vaccination rates among kids have been going down since 2020. He thinks it’s partly because people don’t understand the risks of diseases they never see.
“Why would you immunize against something that you have never really seen? But the whole idea behind immunization is prevention. We immunize to prevent these outbreaks from happening. If we stop doing that, we do have a higher risk of more outbreaks.”
Miller says at the start of this school year, 93% of K through 12 students in the U.S. had all required vaccines, down from 95% at the start of the 2019-20 school year. Meanwhile, the drop among children younger than school age was larger. Has misinformation about the COVID vaccine led to lower adoption rates with other vaccines?
“I think it’s caused skepticism. I think there’s more skepticism around vaccines. Surprisingly, I haven’t heard there was a relationship where people believed vaccines caused autism. I haven’t seen that too much, while we used to see that quite a bit.”
Miller says many kids missed essential vaccines during the pandemic because doctor’s offices were closed. However, it’s time to get back on track. He says the Berrien County Health Department can help make sure any child is up to date on vaccinations. It will also talk with any parents about their concerns.