Decline in Childhood Vaccinations Worries Local Health Officials

DULUTH, Minn. — “We find the decrease in vaccination rates very concerning. Primarily because we’re having kids out there now that are vulnerable,” General Pediatrician at Essentia Health, Dr. Jonathan KenKnight, said.

Dr. Jonathan KenKnight says that vaccination rates for younger age groups is slowly declining in the northland. And with the school year is just around the corner, health leaders are becoming concerned.

“Vaccines are probably the most important thing you can do for your kids to help keep them safe,” Dr. KenKnight, said.

St. Louis County has seen a 2% drop in children’s vaccination rates. According to a Essentia Health’s Pediatrician Dr. KenKnight, the COVID-19 pandemic has been fueling this backslide in children’s vaccines.

Although vaccinations are the easiest way to protect your kids from getting seriously ill. Dr.KenKnight says COVID made vaccines somewhat politicized and has led to hesitation.

“I always take the perspective of ‘I want to listen, I want to se where families are coming from, what’s the reason for the hesitation.’ An ultimately it’s their decision, but it’s my job to partner with them, and help them make an informed choice,” Pediatrician, Jonathan KenKnight, said.

Officials say if you have any concerns, reach out, they’re here to help.

“Bottom line, if you have questions about vaccines. You’re worried, or you’re not sure what to do, make an appointment. Talk with your pediatrician or family doctor. We are here to listen, and we are here to help make sure your kids are as healthy as possible.” said Dr. KenKnight

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