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Doctors encourage students to get fully vaccinated ahead of school

Posted at 7:46 AM, Aug 26, 2022

BALTIMORE (WMAR) — As students get ready to go back to school, health officials want to make sure they are all up to date on vaccinations.

Data shows students got pretty far behind because of the pandemic, and a University of Maryland Children's Hospital doctor said now is the time to get back on track, especially with the resurgence of Polio.

The most recent data in Maryland shows a 10 percent decline in students vaccinated from the 2019 to 2020 school year. There is no data yet on last school years vaccination rates.

We could see this impact on incoming high school freshman, for example, who should have gotten tetanus and meningitis vaccines to enter 7th grade two years ago, but school was not in session because of the pandemic.

While there has been some catch up, doctors believe there are still a lot of students behind on vaccinations.

According to Dr. Andrea Berry, a recent case of paralytic Polio, which was long thought to have been eradicated, shows how important vaccinations are.

“It’s not reversible and that person got that disease because they did not have the Polio vaccine and also because the community around that person didn’t have Polio vaccines so it was a virus that was spreading around an unvaccinated community and so that’s pretty serious and it shows us the consequences of what having low vaccination rates can be,” said Dr. Berry.

COVID-19 vaccine rates among kids are also much lower than adults. Only about half of kids 5 to 11 are fully vaccinated, but only 15 percent are boosted.

Berry, who is also an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine said there have always been parents who were hesitant about vaccines, and she tries to combat it every day.

“My standpoint is I have children, I vaccinate them and I recommend all children get the recommended vaccines. Because these vaccines have been required for school before COVID-19 and today, there’s no change to the policy. We should be able to get back on track with high vaccination rates in Maryland,” said Dr. Berry.

You can make an appointment with your doctor to get caught up or there are vaccination clinics all over the state. You can find one near you on