(BPT) – COVID-19 has caused many disruptions in families’ lives — and in some cases, it has meant that children have missed or delayed their wellness checkups and vaccinations. These routine checkups, however, are a critical part of ensuring children stay healthy. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend that children stay on track with their well-child appointments and routine vaccinations — even during COVID-19.
Well-child visits are essential. At these appointments you can track your child’s developmental milestones, discuss any concerns about your child’s health, and get your child vaccinated to help protect them from 14 serious diseases.
“We know it has been challenging for parents to manage so many responsibilities during this pandemic,” said Lee Beers, MD, FAAP, president of the AAP. “As a parent of school-aged children myself, I understand that. But now is the time to get your children caught up on their immunizations and well visits, and your pediatrician wants to help. As things open back up, children will need the protection that vaccinations give them.”
As schools continue to re-open and warmer weather brings more opportunities for in-person, physically distanced activities, CDC recommends checking with your child’s healthcare provider to make sure your child is up to date on recommended vaccines. You and your child’s doctor can make a plan to ensure your child stays on track — and that your child is ready for school and play.
In recent years, gaps in vaccinations against vaccine-preventable diseases — particularly measles — have caused outbreaks. These contagious diseases can pose serious risks and complications for infants and young children. Getting vaccinated following the recommended schedule allows children to build immunity before they may be exposed to potentially life-threatening diseases.
You have the power to protect your child’s health through on-time vaccination. Many doctors’ offices and clinics are taking steps to ensure your safety and prevent the spread of COVID-19, including:
- Scheduling sick visits and well-child visits during different times of the day
- Limiting the number of people in waiting rooms
- Offering sick visits and well-child visits in different locations
- Providing curbside visits or mobile vaccination options
There are resources available about regular checkups and routine vaccinations during this time that will help answer your questions, such as:
Which vaccines does my child need?
Check out CDC’s easy-to-read childhood immunization schedule to see the vaccines recommended for each age and the diseases they prevent. If your child missed a vaccine, they should be caught up as soon as possible using CDC’s catchup immunization schedule.
Are routine childhood vaccines safe?
Vaccines are safe and effective for children to receive at the recommended ages at the recommended doses.
Did you know your child could get free vaccines?
Vaccines for Children can help. The Vaccines for Children (VFC) program provides free vaccines to children who qualify. About half of American children younger than 19 years old receive VFC vaccines. Ask your doctor if you qualify.
During these challenging times, remember that you have the power to keep your child healthy by keeping any scheduled appointments for well-child visits and rescheduling appointments that may have been missed.
To learn more about keeping your child healthy, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents/visit/vaccination-during-COVID-19.html.