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State and Local health officials urging parents to make sure their children's vaccinations are up to date

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State and federal health officials are urging parents to make sure their children are up to date on vaccinations before they go to school this fall.

The officials say the rate of normal vaccinations for school children has dropped a little over the past year.

"I'm not sure we can say it's all because of COVID, but we did notice that our routine childhood immunizations did drop a little bit, in the percent of coverage," said Jenny Galbraith, the immunization surveillance coordinator for the North Dakota Health Department.

Galbraith said for kindergarten students, the rate dropped by about two percent.

Galbraith also said right now is good time for parents to consider getting their children back into the clinics, not only for vaccinations, but for wellness checks.

"We know a lot of people did not go into the clinic, or see their medical provider at all for their children during this time," Galbraith said. "It's an important thing to have that visit."

Galbraith said the immunizations will protect the children against other diseases.

"For kindergarten, we require doses of DTAP — Diptheria, Tetanus and Pertussis — MMR, which is Measles, Mumps and Rubella, polio, Hepatitis B and chicken pox," Galbraith said. "As kids get a little bit older, we require TDAP boosters, as well as the pneumococcal vaccine."

Galbriath said now is the time parents should consider clinic visits, as the new school year is just around the corner.

"We know that clinics start to fill up and get busy just before school starts," Galbraith said. "Getting your child in now is not too soon."

Galbraith said there have been measles outbreaks within the past few years.

"That's been driven by travel, and by low vaccination rates," Galbraith said. "We really don't need a measles outbreak on top of our existing COVID pandemic," Galbraith said.