LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A new CDC study shows vaccinations in children falling to an alarming rate.
This drop brings growing concerns by health officials of a possible measles outbreak.
Dr. Natalie Burr, from Little Rock Pediatric Clinic, said that study brings concern because research shows that people who are susceptible to measles, meaning they don't have immunity or haven't been vaccinated, are 90% likely to get the virus if they're exposed.
This is why, Dr. Burr said, their message to parents has never been more clear.
"Vaccines save lives. We know that, we've seen science prove it time and time again," she said.
A cry to parents across the country: Get your kids vaccinated.
According to Dr. Burr, since the COVID-19 outbreak, less parents are bringing their children in to be vaccinated.
"We know parents are fearful, just because of the risk of coronavirus. Everyone has been told to stay home, not go out," she said.
Dr. Burr said that fear of walking into a doctor's office is proving itself in the declining immunization rates here at home.
"We have seen some improvement in those vaccination rates this month, but we definitely need to do more to get it back up," she said.
At Little Rock Pediatric Clinic, Dr. Natalie Burr said for the month of April they gave 35% less MMR vaccines and 20% less vaccines overall compared to last year.
According to the Arkansas Department of Health's Immunization Registry, state vaccinations are down 28.8% overall compared to 2019.
"The age group that we're most concerned about children getting all of their vaccines on time is children under the age of two," she said.
This is partly because one of the most vulnerable groups to the measles is children under the age of one, since they can't get their first MMR vaccine until they're a year old, according to Dr. Burr, which is why a possible outbreak of the serious illness worries her.
"You're protecting your children from something that could potentially be more dangerous to a child than coronavirus," she said.
Dr. Burr said local clinics want Arkansas parents to know, extra safety measures are in place and to come on in.
"We're here, we're available, we want to help keep children healthy," she said.
Dr. Burr said she encourages parents to reach out to their pediatrician's office and ask them what they are doing differently, so they know their child will be safe when they go into their appointment.