Child vaccinations in NJ still falling short of pre-COVID numbers
Routine immunizations for children have not fully rebounded since being impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Professionals are urging parents to get their kids back on track — at a certain age, a kid's stockpile of vaccines will determine whether or not they can attend public school.
For the 2022-2023 school year, 92.8% of children in New Jersey had met all immunization requirements for school attendance. The gap is filled by those with medical and religious exemptions, and families that would not comply with the state's rules.
In the academic year heading into 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic began impacting New Jersey, compliance was at 94.4%.
"Children are not vaccinated as they used to be," said Michelle Fiscus, chief medical officer for the Association of Immunization Managers. "That leaves the opportunity for really highly infectious diseases like measles to get into our communities."
Your child's doctor should know where you're at with the vaccination schedule. Your local health department can also share whether you're up to date on shots for your kids, Fiscus said.
During the pandemic, non-emergency visits to the doctor took a back seat as families were told to stay home and/or parents feared exposing their healthy children to other kids who may be sick.
"If you missed one or more of those visits ... your child may be behind," Fiscus said.
Vaccination for children should be covered under any standard health insurance policy. COVID-19 protection is covered as well, although it is not required for children in order for them to be allowed to attend school.
Children who are uninsured or underinsured can get access to free vaccinations with the federally funded program Vaccines for Children.
Top 30 schools most violent schools in New Jersey
Gallery Credit: New Jersey 101.5
LOOK: 35 Vintage Cereals That Perfectly Captured Pop Culture Moments
Gallery Credit: Rob Carroll