Local doctor says vaccines are crucial during pandemic


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — With school in session and flu season just around the corner, local doctors are urging everyone to keep up on their immunizations.

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a decrease of clinic visits for many, which means some children are not getting their recommended vaccines.

But for mom of three, Lindsey Givens, precautions in place at Sanford Health clinics have made her feel safe bringing her daughters in for their vaccines.

“We’re cautious and we use our hand sanitizer and all of that. So as long as we’re careful, I am perfectly comfortable going into the clinic,” Givens said.

Sanford Health pediatrician Dr. Tracy Pierret says every precaution is being taken to ensure patient’s safety.

But some people still have concerns.

“If you look nationally, there’s been an enormous decrease compared to last year in the number of kids that have been vaccinated and went to their wellness visits and that’s, that’s terrible,” Pierret said.

Here in KELOLAND, he’s seen the effects of children not being immunized.

“Even locally I’ve had to admit kids for whooping cough, and that’s certainly a vaccine preventable illness,” Pierret said.

Preventing illnesses is exactly why Givens says all of her daughters get vaccinated.

“I think just knowing how it protects them and, you know, I look at the disease itself and the side effects of that immunization to me far outweigh the risks with that actual illness, depending on what it might be,” Givens said.

And with flu season on its way during a global pandemic, Dr. Pierret says avoiding vaccine preventable illnesses is crucial.

“If we’re having very low vaccination rates, for instance, in influenza, we could have a very bad influenza year and not only will we have the normal amounts of influenza in our hospitals, but then on top of that, when COVID-19 comes around again, we will have to manage that as well,” Pierret said.

To take a look at the CDC recommended vaccines by age, click here.

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