15 Feb Stay On Schedule with Your Child’s Immunizations
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many people to stay away from visiting a doctor’s office, which means many children have fallen behind on routine vaccinations. If your child is not up-to-date on receiving their recommended immunizations, they and our entire community could be at risk. With doctor’s offices taking increased measures to keep everyone safe during this difficult time, vaccines are one the most effective ways to protect your child’s health.
Vaccines work with your body’s natural defenses to help you safely develop immunity to disease.
Getting vaccinated is the key to protecting your health and the health of the entire community – especially those who are unable to be vaccinated because they suffer from a serious health condition such as a failing or compromised immune system. For example, to combat a highly transmissible disease such as measles, an estimated 90 to 95 percent of the population must be vaccinated in order to protect everyone, or achieve what is called “community immunity.”
Children are most vulnerable when they are born, so it is critical to follow the vaccination schedule provided by your child’s pediatrician. Although babies are typically born with strong immune systems and receive some protection through the transmission of antibodies from their mothers, they still need help fighting bacteria, germs and viruses.
The good news is that since vaccines were invented, the number of babies and adults who become seriously ill or die from vaccine-preventable diseases has dramatically decreased. In addition, many infectious diseases have been eliminated entirely – including diphtheria, mumps, pertussis, smallpox, rubella, polio and tetanus. Unfortunately, low vaccination rates have allowed measles and measles-associated deaths to reappear in the U.S., which is a serious public health concern.
Before a vaccine is recommended for use, the U.S Food and Drug Administration ensures it is safe and effective. In addition, the CDC continues to closely and constantly monitor the safety of all vaccines. Stopping vaccinations presents the danger that people would soon start battling epidemics of diseases that were conquered decades ago. Health experts agree that preventing serious diseases outweighs any possible side effects such as slight pain, swelling or low-grade fever that your child may experience following a vaccination.
The CDC recommends that children, teens and adults be up-to-date on the MMR vaccine to protect against measles, mumps and rubella. Children between the ages of 12 months and 12 years may also receive the MMRV vaccine, which protects against measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella (chickenpox). Recommended doses, ages and populations for vaccinations vary. According to the CDC, the following vaccines are usually fully-covered by health insurance:
• Hepatitis A
• Hepatitis B
• Herpes Zoster
• Human Papillomavirus
• Measles, Mumps, Rubella
• Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis
Doctors also recommend that all children six months and older receive the flu vaccine every year. While there is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19, scientists around the world are working diligently to develop one that is both safe and effective. However, it is more important than ever to keep track of your children’s immunization timeline to protect them during every stage of their lives.
For more information from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, please visit vaccines.gov.