OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — A lot of things were skipped this past year due to the pandemic, but one thing health professionals are concerned about is people who skipped regular vaccinations and doctor visits.
Merck has launched a new public health campaign with Omaha native, actress and activist, Gabrielle Union-Wade and former NBA player Dwayne Wade. They are lending their voices to encourage people to make up for their missed appointments and also get their regular vaccines.
"School will be back in person in the fall, it's summer and everyone is trying to move around, hang out...but let's do all we can to protect ourselves, our families and each other," said Gabrielle Union-Wade.
She said the message is not a complicated one.
"Just call. It sounds so simple but when you get out of whack — and this last year had us all out of whack — sometimes you just sort of forget that, 'I got to communicate with my doctor, my children's doctor, and get back on track and back into the doctor's office.'"
Approximately 9 million vaccines were missed last year which equals a 26% decline.
Amy Pisani, Executive Director of the non-profit organization Vaccinate Your Family, asks parents to ask themselves a question.
"Is it possible that your kids skipped any vaccines during the pandemic? If so, reach out to your doctor, pediatrician, pharmacists...even the health department."
Pre-teens are the most at-risk group.
"Cost is never an issue when it comes to childhood vaccines. If you can't afford them, they will be free. There is the Vaccines for Children Program and it is all listed out on our dontskipvaccines.com website," added Pisani.
Minority communities and their fear and mistrust of doctors remain a big concern.
"It's heartbreaking. For all of us in the Black community, we all know people that felt something or were experiencing symptoms and refused to go to the doctor and saying, 'I'd rather not know,' and what we are saying is know," added Union-Wade.
Missed Doctor appointments can lead to serious implications when it comes to national public health.
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