Child vaccinations in Ohio dropped dramatically in the first full month after the state shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Fewer than 14,000 children were vaccinated in April 2020. By comparison, in April 2019, about 25,000 children received vaccinations.
The number of vaccinations rose in May, but it's still less than three-quarters of the number of vaccinations the same month last year.
The drop-off of vaccinations has the medical community concerned. Amy Edwards, pediatric infectious disease specialist at University Hospitals, believes it could lead to the resurgence of some diseases like measles and mumps.
Edwards speculated that vaccinations are down because parents are afraid to take their kids to the doctor, potentially exposing them to COVID-19.
"If you think about it from a parent's perspective, if you're locking your kid down in your house and they're not allowed to go out, then is a vaccine necessary anymore?" she said.
Edwards said routine vaccinations are still necessary, and medical facilities are making efforts to assure patients are protected. She said doctor's offices now use virtual check-ins so children and their parents can avoid waiting rooms, and staffs do rigorous cleaning.
"I can assure you that your child is at less risk here than at the grocery store, because we are taking extreme measures to keep our patients safe,” Edwards said.
If parents have concerns, she said, they should talk to their child's pediatrician about what their office is doing to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.