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Childhood Vaccinations - Still Important Even During A Pandemic

Childhood Vaccinations - Still Important Even During A Pandemic

Numerous well-child checkups have been cancelled as parents try to avoid coronavirus exposure, with pediatricians seeing just 20-30% of the volume they would normally see this time of year. Missed visits often mean missed immunizations, and experts caution that this could leave children and communities vulnerable to diseases like measles and whooping cough.

Many doctors note that vaccine-preventable diseases can be more deadly to children than COVID-19 seems to be. One example is measles, which raised red flags in 2019. According to the CDC, there were 1,282 individual cases of measles confirmed, which broke the nation’s 25-year-old record for the most cases. Of those cases, mostly unvaccinated people were hospitalized (128), and 61 developed serious complications, including pneumonia and encephalitis.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, parents have been understandably more focused on the current threat at hand, opting to take their children to the doctor only when necessary. But, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that pediatricians still see patients under 2 years old for well visits in the office, even in these stay-at-home times. During the first two years, children generally complete the initial set of recommended immunizations — for everything from measles, mumps and rubella, to rotavirus, polio and the pneumococcal bacteria that can cause serious infections, such as pneumonia and meningitis.

The CDC has issued schedule changes for child immunizations due to the coronavirus outbreak. If a practice can provide only limited well child visits, healthcare providers are encouraged to prioritize newborn care and vaccination of infants and young children (through 24 months of age) when possible. If you have questions regarding when your child should receive their next round of immunizations or if they are due for a well-child visit, please contact their healthcare provider.

Stephanie Coleman

Stephanie Coleman, MD
Family Physician
Baton Rouge General Physicians - Family Medicine (Prairieville)

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