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When people ask Paul Offit, MD, what worries him the most about the COVID-19 pandemic, he names two concerns. "One is the lack of socialization and education that came from keeping kids out of school for so long," Offit told Medscape Medical News in a recent interview. "And I think vaccines have suffered."

Offit is director of the Vaccine Education Center and a professor of pediatrics at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. He has watched with alarm as the American public appears to be losing faith in the lifesaving vaccines the public health community has worked hard to promote.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the proportion of kids entering kindergarten who have received state-required vaccines dipped to 94% in the 2020–2021 school year―a full point less than the year before the pandemic―then dropped by another percentage point, to 93%, the following year.

Although a couple of percentage points may sound trivial, were only 93% of kindergarteners to receive the vaccine against measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR), approximately 250,000 vulnerable 5-year-olds could spark the next big outbreak, such as the recent measles outbreaks in Ohio and Minnesota.

Offit is one of many public health officials and clinicians who are working to reverse the concerning trends in pediatric vaccinations. Their efforts combine conventional approaches, such as community outreach, with newer strategies, including using social media and even lending a sympathetic ear to parents voicing anti-science imaginings.

Head over to Medscape to read the full story.