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First Coast doctors say kids aren't staying up-to-date on vaccinations during COVID-19 pandemic

“The Academy of Pediatrics is very nervous that measles is going to come back," Dr. Bonnie White said.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla — Fear of the coronavirus has caused parents to cancel their children’s vaccination and annual doctor appointments.

“Gosh, the first couple of weeks it was down more than 50% of visits canceled," Jacksonville Pediatrician Randy Thornton said. "People were just real nervous coming to a doctor’s office.”

He explains parents might be worried about COVID-19, but keeping your kids up-to-date on vaccines can limit preventable, deadly infections -- like Whooping Cough or Meningitis -- from spreading.

“Kids as falling behind on their vaccines," Ponte Vedra Pediatrician Dr. Bonnie White said.

She added there’s also concerns of a spike in Measles cases and other highly contagious viruses.

“The Academy of Pediatrics is very nervous that measles is going to come back," White said. "They’re having strange viruses in California that look similar to a poliovirus – so there’s huge concern.”

She said when kids start mingling again, safety measures will be as important as ever.

“If summer camps and sports camps open this summer, they obviously have to follow the strict precautions that have been recommended – temperature checks, good hand washing, possibly wearing the masks,” White said.

In fact, Thornton even thinks summer camps should make sure participants are up-to-date on their vaccines.

“There is no question other children are at risk of a child that is unvaccinated," he said.

The message from the local pediatricians is simple – your family’s practice might have new procedures in place like temperature checks, but it is safe to bring your children to the office to get vaccines.