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Minnesota physicians urge parents to vaccinate children before school

Physicians cited fear of COVID-19 as a reason parents are avoiding in-person care for their children.

As schools across the state grapple with uncertainty surrounding what classes will look in the fall, Minnesota physicians are urging parents not to forget about routine vaccinations.

The Minnesota Medical Association, the Minnesota Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians issued a statement Wednesday encouraging vaccinations ahead of back-to-school season, regardless of what form classes may take.

“As back-to-school planning is underway and certain restrictions are hopefully being lifted, it is more important than ever to ensure vaccinations are up to date to protect your children and community,” said Minnesota Medical Association President Keith Stelter in a statement.

The organizations pointed to a survey by the Minnesota Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics that showed childhood vaccinations are down an estimated 30 to 40 percent and adolescent vaccinations down 40 to 50 percent compared to the beginning of the pandemic.

Fear surrounding COVID-19 has prevented some parents from seeking in-person medical care for their children, including vaccinations, according to the organizations.

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“It is crucial caregivers bring their children to medical clinics for that care. We are prepared to safely take care of patients and children, provide vaccinations, and maintain the recommended schedule of preventive and routine care,” said Sheldon Berkowitz, president of the Minnesota Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, in a statement.

Minnesota law requires certain vaccinations for children in school and childcare programs, unless they have a medical exemption. A complete list of required vaccinations can be found here.

State officials are expected to make an announcement on school reopening by next week. 

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