With national data showing immunization rates for all ages dipping to dangerously low levels, the American Academy of Pediatrics is launching a campaign urging parents to call their pediatricians to schedule check-ups and vaccines for children of all ages.

“As states begin to open up and families move about in their community, we are afraid that we could see outbreaks of measles, whooping cough and other diseases that can spread very rapidly and be deadly for children,” said AAP President Sally Goza, MD, FAAP. “It’s important that parents work with their pediatrician now to get all children caught up on their vaccines. We want to reassure parents that pediatricians have taken every step to make these visits safe.”

The #CallYourPediatrician campaign uses empathy and humor to connect with parents whose lives have been upended during the pandemic, encouraging parents to include a call with the pediatrician on their to-do list for the day. 

Earlier this month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published data showing that from mid-March to mid-April, doctors in the Vaccines for Children program ordered 2.5 million fewer doses of vaccines, and 250,000 fewer doses of measles-containing vaccines, compared to the same period in 2019. Another CDC study published Monday examined vaccine rates in Michigan, and found immunization rates for some diseases have dropped to below 50%.

“Parents have a lot on their minds right now. We want them to know pediatricians are open for business, and we are ready to schedule visits to make sure their children are fully immunized,” Dr. Goza said. “These visits are so important for other reasons, too, including making sure children’s development is on track and checking on other health concerns while families have been social distancing. Pediatricians want to see children now, and make sure they are healthy and OK.”