This year, it’s particularly critical to ensure families get back on track for routine checkups and recommended vaccinations following disruptions from the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether a child is behind on a vaccine, missing several, or completely unvaccinated, now is the time to strongly encourage families to get their child caught up on childhood vaccinations. This is totally doable. Share with families that it’s not necessary to start over if they are concerned about vaccines being missed!
Routine childhood immunizations are safe. Throughout the pandemic, medical offices put in place new ways of providing quality care for children and made it very safe to bring them to the office. Certainly a lot safer than avoiding immunizations which protect children from as many as fourteen serious, disabling and potentially deadly, diseases.
Encourage families to pick up the phone and call their healthcare provider. To get caught up on recommended vaccines, families should schedule an appointment as soon as possible, explaining that shots keep their child healthy and strong — like eating vegetables or brushing their teeth — this can help to normalize the experience. A trip to the doctor should feel the same as a trip to the grocery store or the post office.
The vaccines recommended in the CDC schedule are carefully timed to provide protection to children when they are most vulnerable to diseases, and when the vaccines will produce the strongest response from the child’s immune system. It is therefore very important to follow the schedule as closely as possible.
CDC’s recommended schedule (Birth through 6 years old) is the same schedule recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP).
Also, CDC has helpful immunization catch-up schedules based on age to refer families.
- 14 Diseases You Almost Forgot About Thanks to Vaccines (an article for families at AAP’s healthychildren.org)
- Catch Up on Well-Child Visits and Recommended Vaccinations (CDC)
- Vaccinate Your Family website