Lubbock pediatrician encourages routine vaccinations as kids head back to school

Published: Aug. 15, 2023 at 10:43 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Immunization rates have dropped in the United States over the last 20 years - that’s why one Lubbock pediatrician says its more important than ever families stay up-to-date with their shots.

Routine immunizations are also required by the state for kids to attend school in Texas.

When it comes to encouraging more families to get their shots, Dr. Richard Lampe says it is something parents, pediatricians and the public can support. He is a pediatrician and professor who specializes in infectious disease at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center.

“I want to do what’s right for children, and I know that parents want to do what’s right for children. And so, that’s where we meet, and we want to do what’s right for children,” he said.

Lampe invited one of his medical school students, Tanner Ashcraft, to speak about his family’s decision to vaccinate their children.

Ashcraft’s son, Calvin, 3, starts preschool Wednesday. He said in his fourth year of medical school, he has already seen the benefits of routine immunizations.

“We want to keep them healthy, but we want to make sure that everyone else stays healthy, too,” Ashcraft said. “I know that that not only helps them, it helps the kids that they’ll be around, our friends.”

When it came time for those conversations, Calvin’s mom Natalie said there were people who told her not to vaccinate her kids.

“I think there’s like so many voices out there and the loudest voices are, I don’t know, on Instagram or Facebook and they’re not always valid,” she said.

She stated she and her husband talked through the vaccinations with their doctor.

“When I’m in the room with a patient, I’m going to try to help them make those hard decisions for their child, as well. And so, I trust that my doctors are doing the same for me, ‘cause I’ve seen it,” Ashcraft said.

Lampe stated there are valid medical exemptions, but for most kids, the benefits of helping keep your children from getting sick far outweigh the risks of the vaccines.

He said keeping kids healthy means they do not have to miss out on a week of classwork or soccer practice. Plus, he stated it keeps parents from missing work to care for them.

He said focusing on the positives is what it will take to get more of the public on board with vaccines.

“The public really cares about the future of its children, and when the whole public is immunized, that’s better for everybody,” Dr. Lampe said.

In the early nineties, Dr. Lampe says 50 to 100 children a year were sent to the hospital with complications from chicken pox in the city of Lubbock. In the last five years, he said there have been none.