NC and local health experts urge regular and COVID-19 vaccinations for teens ahead of fall school year

COVID-19 and schools

RALEIGH N.C. (WNCN) – North Carolina and local health leaders are urging people to bring their children and teens in for their regular and COVID-19 vaccinations ahead of the fall school year.

This comes after a significant national decline in routine vaccinations from March to September during last year’s coronavirus lockdowns, according to a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control.

“I think that’s true both, talking to my colleagues who are general pediatricians here at Duke, across the state and really across the country,” said Duke Professor of Pediatrics Michael Smith.

North Carolina State Health Director Dr. Elizabeth Cuervo Tilson says children and teens statewide are behind on immunizations for diseases such as tetanus, meningitis and measles among others.

“In the past year with the pandemic we did see a little bit of a dip in that rate,” Tilson said. “Remember, they are required. So as we head back into school, those will be required for kids to be able to stay in school.”

State data also shows only 25 percent of 12- to 17-year-olds in North Carolina have had at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“Ideally we set a target for our adults at 66 percent, or two-thirds. It’d be great if we could get our adolescents up to that as well,” Tilson said.

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