MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Shelby County School students are scheduled to head back to school on August 10.
While the district decides on whether classes will be in-person or virtual, doctors have a message for parents.
They want parents not to wait until the last minute to get vaccines for children.
Sammie Sanders, like many people, chose to stay clear of large crowds out of fear of catching the coronavirus.
“I stay in a lot because I have a compromised immune system,” Sanders said. “So, I try not to be around other people a lot.”
Fears of large crowds have led to a drop in the number of children who receive routine vaccinations.
“A lot of people just don’t want to get vaccinated and they keep them at home,” Sanders said.
As school districts discussed the possibility of children returning to school in the fall, doctors urged parents to schedule appointments.
Jason Yaun is a pediatrician at Le Bonheur Children's Hospital.
“We see this every year regardless of the pandemic,” said Yaun. “As we get closer to school time, we have that back to school rush. This year that is just going to be multiplied by the pandemic.”
According to Yaun, back in April, they were down nearly 50 percent of their usual volume.
He said if parents don't get their children vaccinated, we could see a surge in other illnesses.
“A great example is measles, highly contagious disease,” Yaun said. “We have had numerous outbreaks in the US. If we don’t have kids vaccinated from measles, we could see an outbreak here.”
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Yaun didn’t want kids denied access to an education because they did not have required immunizations.
"If a child doesn't have a vaccine, they could fall behind their peers," Yaun said.
Sanders decided she would homeschool her children.
"Me personally, I'm not going to send them back until they come up with a vaccination," Sanders said.
Le Bonheur said they took the necessary precautions to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Every person who entered the facility must have their temperature checked, wear a mask and be screened for COVID-19 symptoms.
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