County public health officials urged parents on Friday to ensure their children get routine vaccinations, noting a decline in the number of youngsters receiving their shots amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The call for childhood vaccinations came on the eve of National Infant Immuninzation Week, which begins Saturday.
In making the call, the county cited a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report published last year that found the number of children receiving routine vaccines dropped immediately after the United States declared a national emergency due to the coronavirus, a trend that has continued throughout the pandemic as families largely stayed home.
Though many vaccine-preventable diseases are uncommon, county health officials said cases of mumps, measles, and whooping cough can and do occur in San Diego County.
"Vaccines help to prevent disease outbreaks. Parents should make sure their children have all the recommended vaccines to protect them," said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county's public health officer. "Vaccinations and doctor visits are essential to keep children healthy."
In addition to infant immunizations, parents are urged to get booster shots for children between 4 and 6 for diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, chickenpox, measles, mumps, rubella and polio. Preteens and teens also need a Tdap booster shot to protect against tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough.
Vaccines can be obtained through regular medical providers, while people with no medical insurance can get vaccinated at a county public health center at no cost.
Local retail pharmacies also offer some vaccinations for a fee.