Why is it so important for my kids to get caught up on their childhood immunizations during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Shaunte Anum-Addo, MD, FAAP
Although you are probably juggling a lot of responsibilities right now, making sure your children are up-to-date on their shots is one of the best things you can do to protect them against some pretty serious but preventable diseases.
Pediatricians have seen a sharp drop in vaccinations since the start of the pandemic, which is a really frightening trend. When children are not vaccinated, they are at risk of getting diseases like measles, polio and hepatitis A and B that can cause lifelong disability or death. Falling vaccination rates can lead to new outbreaks of dangerous diseases, and that’s the last thing anyone needs on top of COVID-19.
Regular visits to the pediatrician
Immunizations usually take place at your child’s check-ups. (Here are the recommended vaccination schedules for birth through age 6 and 7-18.) Keeping these appointments is very important so your kids don’t miss out on shots or other important care, such as physical exams and health screenings.
But if your child does miss a shot, you don’t need to start over. Just go back to your pediatrician’s office so your child can catch up with the vaccines they need to stay healthy.What if we’re low on money right now?Job layoffs during the pandemic have caused many families to lose income and health insurance. It’s important for parents to know that families who qualify can receive vaccines at no charge through the federally funded Vaccines for Children program.
In addition to getting caught-up on routine immunizations, here are some other reasons to visit your pediatrician right now:
Hearing and vision screenings
To check on developmental milestones
To check blood pressure and other vital signs
To treat infections or injuries
Adolescent health concerns, such as menstrual care and depression screening
Routine lab tests
For preparticipation physical examinations before returning to sports or other activities.
Call your pediatrician
Pediatricians are being extra careful to make sure their offices are safe, and Kids First is no different. If you are worried about COVID-19, call us to learn about the strict cleaning and disinfecting they are doing to keep everyone safe. Kids First Pediatrics of Raleigh: 919-250-3478 or Clayton: 919-267-1499.
Do you have other questions about vaccines or well child visits? Be sure to ask your Kids First provider. We are seeing patients and are available to answer any questions that you have. In fact, we would love to hear from you. Kids First Pediatrics of Raleigh: 919-250-3478 or Clayton: 919-267-1499.
*This article is informational but is not a substitute for medical attention or information from your provider.