Two regional pediatric immunization symposiums are being held this month in Morehead and Owensboro, where experts will share strategies to promote vaccine dialogue and resources - as families get back on track for routine vaccinations disrupted by the pandemic.

Amber Mallot - health communicator program manager for the Immunize Kentucky Coalition and Kentucky Rural Health Association - encouraged families to check up on what routine vaccinations are needed before kids head back into the classroom.

"We want parents and caregivers to start thinking and planning for that," said Mallot, "because we know that it can be overwhelming to get into a provider's office and get those appointments scheduled, sometimes a month out."

The pandemic disrupted many kids' routine vaccination schedules - and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of kindergartners nationwide who received routine childhood vaccinations during the 2020-'21 school year dropped by around 1% compared with the previous school year.

For more information on the symposia, visit 'immunizeky.org.'

Kelly Taulbee, director of communications and development with Kentucky Voices for Health, pointed out that kids can resume their routine immunizations that were disrupted when the pandemic hit.

"They can pick right back up where they left off," said Taulbee. "There's not any sort of delay in the care now. So please talk to your pediatrician. Get into the doctor. Tell them you're interested, if you want to talk and go through questions first. "

Malott said the Coalition is currently focused on building competence among providers to address vaccine questions with patients.

"Be able to address any of the particular questions that caregivers may have specifically in regard to making the informed choice to vaccinate their children," said Mallot, "not just for required vaccines, but recommended vaccines - HPV, COVID, flu, things of that nature."

A Pew survey released last month found most adults have a lot or some confidence in their own health care provider to give an accurate picture of the health benefits and risks of childhood vaccines.

2023-06-05T07:08:34Z dg43tfdfdgfd