The 2020 coronavirus pandemic lockdown is still being felt.By Nicole Ford

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The 2020 pandemic lockdown is still being felt.

“It’s not a surprise that vaccine rates have been down during the pandemic, not just in this country but all around the world,” said Dr. Edward Ketyer with Allegheny Health Network.

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Those closures included doctors’ offices and routine health checkups for kids, leaving nearly 20 million without their routine vaccinations.

“There are a lot of parents who hesitate to go out in public where there a lot of people, especially sick people like a doctor’s office or hospital,” Dr. Ketyer said.

But Ketyer told KDKA that you shouldn’t wait to catch up on those vaccines. It could be as simple as the chickenpox shot or measles and mumps, but he believes it’s a layer of protection for your child.

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“School is about to start in this region in the next 10 to 14 days and kids are going to be exposed and every parent knows that kids are germ dispensers,” Ketyer said.

Heather Downey knew she wasn’t going to wait to catch up.

“Even pre-COVID, I didn’t want my kids to go to school or out at that mall and catch something that could have been easily preventable like chickenpox or mumps. And you want to protect them from whatever you can,” said the mother of two, whose kids attend Chartiers Valley School District.

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Downey said she also got her children vaccinated for COVID-19 this year but understands some parents’ concerns.