Dr. Beth Oller talks to Nichole Berkley as Berkley holds her immunized 8-week-old daughter Margaret, Thursday, May 21, 2020, at the family's home in Stockton, Kan. Oller is providing immunizations and wellness checks for children during home visits in an attempt to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus in her small, rural community. Credit: Charlie Riedel / AP

MANCHESTER, Maine — Pediatricians in Maine are reminding parents to get their children caught up on routine immunizations, which many students have missed during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Maine Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics said Thursday a Blue Cross Blue Shield analysis found a 26 percent drop in vaccine doses last year. The analysis also found that 40 percent of parents surveyed said their children missed shots due to the pandemic.

The chapter called on parents to get in touch with their pediatricians to schedule visits to keep their children up to date.

“Data suggests that Maine adolescents are behind on vaccines to protect them from specific forms of cancer; pertussis and meningitis, a deadly infection of the membranes that protect the brain,” the organization said in a statement.

The chapter said parents have delayed or skipped vaccination appointments because of fear of catching coronavirus, economic hardship and greater demands on their time and attention.

Immunizations are required to attend school in Maine, and a new law goes into effect this year that takes away philosophical and religious exemptions.