Michigan Association of Fire Fighters

Vaccination rates plummet amid pandemic

Health news from MESSA

Michigan’s vaccination rates have plummeted during the pandemic, putting our kids at risk for other serious illnesses such as measles and whooping cough. In May, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services reported that child vaccinations were down 44.5 percent overall compared with the previous two years.

That is a significant drop that can have serious health consequences for kids, said Dr. Julia Spalding, MESSA’s medical director.

No one can deny that this is a tough time to be a parent. With COVID-19 cases rising across Michigan, the temptation to keep a healthy child far away from the doctor’s office is strong. However, keeping your child up to date on vaccinations is a crucial part of protecting their health that should not be ignored.

If you’ve been putting off a well-child visit, it’s time to get back on schedule. Being prepared for what to expect can help alleviate your concerns about taking them to the doctor. Here are some questions to ask your child’s doctor MESSA logo RGB Blue no tag R 2office before visiting:

  • Is my child up to date on their vaccinations?
  • Do you have designated hours for well-child visits to keep healthy kids separated from children who may be ill?
  • Are there separate entrances for healthy children and those who may be ill?
  • Do you offer remote check-in from my vehicle?
  • Do patients wait in the waiting room or in the parking lot?
  • Do you offer vehicle visits, where the provider meets the patient in the parking lot?
  • How often are the waiting rooms and patient rooms sanitized?

Additionally, Spalding and other health experts are stressing the importance of getting a flu shot this year. While the flu vaccine won’t protect against the coronavirus, it could help head off a simultaneous uptick in both flu and coronavirus cases that could strain the health system.

All MESSA plans fully cover preventive immunizations for children, as well as well-child and well-baby visits, with in-network providers. The flu vaccine is also covered under all MESSA plans when administered by a qualified provider.

Make sure your child is protected against preventable illnesses. Call your pediatrician’s office today to find out if your child is behind on their vaccinations – and make a plan to take action if they are.

This content is courtesy of MESSA. For more information about MESSA health benefits and services, call 1-833-341-6276. Visit MESSA online at www.messa.org.