Campaign urges parents to get child vaccine schedules back on track

Forty percent of parents and caregivers say the pandemic kept them from getting their children routine vaccines against illnesses like measles or the flu.

As a result, the March of Dimes is launching a national campaign to try to get kids back to doctors for protection against historic illnesses.

"This gap in immunization coverage is putting many families and communities at risk for preventable illnesses that we're very familiar with, but don't have to deal with because of vaccines," said Zsakeba Henderson, March of Dimes Senior Vice President/Interim Chief Medical and Health Officer.

Some of those illnesses are measles, mumps and influenza.

Serese Marotta lost her five-year-old son Joseph to the flu. Jo-Jo got sick on the way home from school and was hospitalized nine days.

"And on the ninth day of his hospitalization suddenly he coded and they were trying to revive him for 35 minutes and were unable to revive him," Marotta said.

Now it’s her mission to spread the message: get your kids routine vaccines.

"It’s not just happening to other people. My story illustrates that we're all at risk, but the good news is that we have the power to help protect ourselves and our families and that’s through vaccinations," Marotta.

"We've just seen huge impact in how its helped to reduce significant morbidity and mortality from these preventable diseases," said Dr. Nick Carr, Citra Urgent Care.

He says don't let the pandemic or the politics around COVID-19 vaccines keep your kids from traditional routine immunizations.

"There are a number of other illnesses vaccines have shown tremendous benefit for and we definitely would encourage parents not fall behind on those vaccines," Carr said.

"It’s so important that their children receive their routine vaccines and that there are resources out there for those who can't afford them," Henderson said.