Vaccines are one of the strongest tools that medicine has to protect against serious illness. That’s why experts recommend that infants and children get certain vaccines at specific times to protect them from serious disease as early as possible. The vaccines are incredibly effective and credited with preventing countless illnesses and deaths. But in the wake of the pandemic, a concerning trend is popping up — initial studies show that childhood vaccine rates are going down, which could cause new outbreaks of dangerous diseases.
Children have been falling behind with their vaccinations during the pandemic. Why is this trend so concerning?
This is concerning because many diseases that can be prevented by vaccines — like influenza, measles, pertussis (or whooping cough), polio, rotavirus, and more — are more dangerous for babies and children than COVID-19. While it can be easy to imagine that those other diseases are just a thing of the past, those diseases have been declining and held in check for so long thanks to vaccines; we’ve been able to worry less about these diseases than prior generations did because vaccines have been so widely used. But these diseases do still circulate, and could return if many children go unvaccinated.
What can you do to keep your child protected?
The pandemic has brought so many new stressors into our lives, and it’s entirely normal to be worried about taking your child out for a healthcare appointment. But now’s not the time to avoid necessary healthcare — vaccines are definitely a necessity, and pediatricians are being very careful to keep offices safe places for healthy children to receive care like vaccines.
So you should do all you can to make sure that your child keeps their vaccination appointments and sticks to their regular vaccination schedule. And if your child has missed any vaccinations, you should make plans to have your child brought up to date on their vaccinations as soon as possible — you can speak with your child’s healthcare provider to make plans to do so.
Your provider should also be happy to work with you to find a way for your child to get the vaccines they need while ensuring that you have a safe visit. Right now many healthcare providers are finding creative solutions to allow children to continue to get the healthcare they need while keeping everyone safe — like mobile vaccine clinics, specific vaccination hours for well-children (meaning children who are not sick), separate locations for well-child visits and sick-child visits, increased sanitization, and other increased hygiene practices. So be sure to talk with your child’s provider to get your questions answered so you can rest easy knowing that you’re doing all you can to keep your little one healthy and protected too.
The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine has now been approved for those ages 5 and up. For more information tap here.
Reviewed by the Ovia Health Clinical Team.
- Melissa Jenco. “AAP urges vaccination as rates drop due to COVID-19.” AAP News. American Academy of Pediatrics, May 8 2020. Retrieved May 21 2020. https://www.aappublications.org/news/2020/05/08/covid19vaccinations050820?utm_source=TrendMD&utm_medium=TrendMD&utm_campaign=AAPNews_TrendMD_0.
- Melissa Jenco. “CDC details COVID-19-related inflammatory syndrome in children.” AAP News. American Academy of Pediatrics, May 14 2020. Retrieved May 21 2020. https://www.aappublications.org/news/2020/05/14/covid19inflammatory051420.
- David Waldstein. “Vaccinations Fall to Alarming Rates, C.D.C. Study Shows.” New York Times. The New York Times Company, May 18 2020. Retrieved May 21 2020. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/18/health/vaccinations-rates-coronavirus.html.
- “Diseases You Almost Forgot About (Thanks to Vaccines).” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, January 3 2020. https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents/diseases/forgot-14-diseases.html.