TYLER, Texas (KETK) – Even before COVID, there was a stigma surrounding vaccines, but it’s only grown since the pandemic and the COVID-19 shot.

When you hear the word “vaccine”, you may automatically think “COVID”, but the truth is the COVID-19 shot is just one of many vaccines.

“There is still that segment of the population out there that has a vaccine fear,” said Drug Emporium pharmacist David Davis.

As students get ready to go back to school, they are required to show proof of vaccination from diseases like measles and whooping cough, but doctors said parents have more questions than they used to have.

“One of the real problems now is that young parents have grown up in a time where they don’t see those illnesses and they don’t have anxiety about their kids getting polio,” said Dr. Don Murphey, a pediatric infectious diseases physician with Dell Children’s Medical Center Austin and a member of Texas Medical Association’s council of Science and Public Health.

Vaccines have been around for centuries and doctors say they are a proven defense against diseases.

“We put together gradually overtime our modern immunization schedule and we have seen those rates of childhood serious illnesses drop down to very low numbers,” said Dr. Murphey.

Deadly illnesses like polio and measles are extremely rare now because of vaccines, but doctors fear that if less people vaccinate their children, those numbers will eventually rise again.

“There is risk now that if we back up on our immunization rates that we’ll see the return of those illnesses,” explained Dr. Murphey.

While the COVID shot brought fears about vaccines for some, for others it reminded them to stay caught up with other vaccines.

“Now they’re all about, ‘How can I get vaccinated for this?’ And ‘how can I get vaccinated for that?’ So it did bring to the public’s mind what a vaccine is and what vaccinations they need,” said Davis.

Davis said every vaccine goes through lots of trials and approval measures before its given to the public. He says it’s a greater risk to not get a shot.

“It’s far better to get vaccinated than run the risk of catching whatever you don’t want to be vaccinated for because those results could be far, far worse,” Davis said.

He recommends speaking with your pharmacist or doctor if you have questions or concerns about vaccines.

Just a reminder: kids who aren’t up to date on their required vaccines must get that done before the start of school.

You can find the list of vaccine requirements on the Texas Department of State Health Services website.