Let’s play catch-up on routine childhood vaccinations

(BPT) – For many of us, life over the past two years has been anything but routine. We missed out on playdates, reunions with loved ones, in-person school activities, sports — in some cases, even our children’s regular doctor visits, putting them at risk of not being up to date on their routine vaccinations for serious diseases like measles and whooping cough.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides vaccines for nearly half of America’s children. Over the last two years, distribution of routine vaccines is down more than 10% compared to before the COVID-19 pandemic, which could mean an alarming number of children are vulnerable to vaccine-preventable diseases. Now is the time to get back to some of our routines, including well-child checkups and vaccinations.

Even before the disruptions of COVID-19, delays in routine vaccinations against vaccine-preventable diseases — particularly measles — have caused outbreaks. Getting children vaccinated following CDC’s recommended vaccination schedule can help protect against outbreaks and allows children to be protected before they may be exposed to potentially life-threatening diseases.

You have the power to protect your child’s health through vaccination. You and your child’s doctor can make a plan to ensure your child gets back on track and stays on track with their vaccinations — so your child is ready for school and play.

There are resources available to help answer your questions about your child’s regular checkups and routine vaccinations, such as:

Which vaccines does my child need?

Check out CDC’s easy-to-read Child & Adolescent Immunization Schedule to see the vaccines recommended for each age and the diseases they prevent. If your child missed a vaccine, use CDC’s Catch-up Immunization Schedule to help catch them up as soon as possible.

Are routine childhood vaccines safe?

Vaccines are safe and effective for children to receive at the recommended age at the recommended doses.

Did you know your child may be eligible for free vaccines?

The Vaccines for Children (VFC) program can help. VFC provides free vaccines to children who qualify. About half of American children younger than 19 years old receive VFC vaccines. Ask your doctor if your child qualifies.

Now is the chance to play catch-up on the things we’ve been missing out on. Help protect your child’s health as they get back to their routines by ensuring they are caught up on their well-child checkups and routine vaccinations.

Learn more about routine childhood vaccination and other ways to keep your child healthy by visiting www.cdc.gov/vaccines/routine.