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As Childhood Vaccinations Lag, Doctors Worry about Possible Outbreaks


In 2019 before the pandemic, the Shelby County Health Department was giving roughly 9,000 vaccinations a month. Through August of this year, the tally had dropped to 2,480 a month, leaving thousands of people – mostly children in lower socio-economic brackets – vulnerable to diseases like measles, diphtheria and chicken pox. “People were so afraid, especially before we had the COVID vaccine, and coupled with the school year basically being virtual all year, those opportunities to get immunized were just missed,” said Dr. Michelle Taylor, director of the Shelby County Health Department. “We use any opportunity for catch-up vaccines, sick visits or acute visits or some other concern that is not a checkup,” said pediatrician Jason Yaun at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital. Dr. Yaun is also a faculty member at UTHSC. “There are very few instances when a child would be too sick where we would not want to administer immunizations.”

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