Kids are getting behind on vaccines. A Dayton event aims to help.

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Children have been missing well visits and scheduled vaccines during the disruption of the pandemic, leading health officials to urge parents to get their children’s back-to-school vaccines even if not planning to go to a physical building.

“Even if you’re not going to a physical classroom, you’re still out and about in public. So you’re still potentially exposing your children to any of these vaccine-preventable diseases,” said Melissa Arnold, CEO of the Ohio Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics. “It doesn’t matter if you’re in a virtual setting or physically going to school, you want to make sure your child is protected.

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After the virus case counts initially started to climb in March, visits to primary care providers plummeted and that also meant skipped well-child visits and scheduled vaccines. Arnold said while she doesn’t have the latest numbers for the most recent months, the data indicates rates fell in the initial months after the stay-at-home orders.

“Back in May we saw rates down 40% on some vaccines and as low as 60% on the adolescent vaccines,” Arnold said.

In light of the drop in childhood vaccinations, Public Health - Dayton & Montgomery County, CareSource and Dayton Children’s Hospital working together on an event Wednesday providing required vaccinations for 7th and 12th grade students returning to school. The event will be 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Dayton Kroc Center, 1000 N. Keowee St. in Dayton.

Along with 7th and 12th grade required vaccinations, the recommended HPV vaccine will also be available at the event at the Kroc Center.

Ohio requires all 7th grade students to be vaccinated for pertussis and meningitis before returning to school. Returning 12th graders are required to receive a second dose of meningitis vaccine. Students attending school virtually are still required to receive these mandatory vaccinations.

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Along with the required scheduled childhood vaccines, flu shots will be especially important this season, said Donna Youtz, public health nurse coordinator for the immunization clinic. The flu can make children seriously ill and can also be confused with COVID-19 symptoms.

“With COVID and everything going around, you want to prevent all the diseases that you can,” Youtz said.

Along with the Wednesday event, she said children and adults who need vaccines can also make an appointment and come to Public Health’s Immunization Clinic at Reibold Building in downtown Dayton. All vaccines are done by appointment by calling 937-225-4550.

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Dr. Randy Eisenhut, CMO of Dayton-based PriMED’s Pediatric Division, said PriMed has been reaching out to people who have been hesitant to come into the office to explain policies they have to make the doctor’s office a safe environment.

Eisenhut said outbreaks can occur when vaccines get skipped.

“There’s been times when people lift their foot off the pedal. For example, in 2018, there was a measles resurgence ... and those were almost all unvaccinated kids. Also with pertussis -- whooping cough -- typically the issue is with under immunized children as well,” Eisenhut said.

The federal government also just passed an emergency measure to allow pharmacists in all 50 states to give childhood vaccinations, intended to ease access to vaccines and prevent vaccination rates from falling during the pandemic.

Antonio Ciaccia, of the Ohio Pharmacists Association, said Ohio pharmacists were able to do some childhood vaccines but it was restricted to children 7 years and older and children 7 to 12 years old needed a prescription for the pharmacy vaccination.


7th and 12th grade vaccination event

Public Health - Dayton & Montgomery County will be providing required vaccinations for 7th and 12th grade students returning to school 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Dayton Kroc Center, 1000 N. Keowee St. in Dayton.

CareSource and Dayton Children’s Hospital will be also have masks to give away at the event. CareSource will give away school supplies and healthy snacks. There will be information for adults regarding job assistance, life coaching, transportation, health care management, and Public Health services.

RTA is offering free transportation to and from the Kroc Center for passengers that let the driver know that they are going to the event.

Parents are asked to bring their insurance information, but no one will be refused service due to inability to pay.

For more information visit phdmc.org or call (937) 225-4550.

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