SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – While California’s stay-at-home order has slowed the spread of the coronavirus, it’s also caused many children to fall behind on their recommended vaccinations.

Compared to April 2019 the number of shots given to children 0 through 18 years old in California decreased by more than 40 percent in April 2020, according to a statement from the California Department of Health. It’s a statistic that the Department calls troubling.

“This pandemic has disrupted so much, including how we’re seeking preventive health care services,” said Dr. Sonia Angell, Director of the California Department of Public Health and State Health Officer. “During and after the pandemic, unvaccinated infants and children will be more vulnerable to dangerous diseases like measles and whooping cough. It’s so important that parents make sure their children are up-to-date on their immunizations.”

The Department urges parents of children under 18 years old to contact their child’s doctor if they have any concerns about visiting the office. Most providers have additional safety measures in place to protect visiting patients from COVID-19.

Pregnant women are also urged to get vaccinations to protect themselves and their unborn babies.

The Vaccines for Children (VFC) program offers free vaccines to families who can’t afford to pay for their children’s vaccines. They’re being offered through providers.