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Child Immunizations—Still Important During COVID Pandemic

doctor talking to child and parent about immunization

What Vaccines Does My Child Need and When Should They Get Them?

By Michele Eggers, senior quality care coordinator at Network Health
Originally published on 3/17/2021 at 11:09 a.m.

The coronavirus and COVID pandemic has impacted much of our lives, making us reschedule and adjust our annual routines around availability and safety measures.

Because of these changes, many children may not be on schedule with routine vaccinations. It is important to continue to follow public health guidelines during the pandemic. Clinics are taking steps to ensure safety for essential services, such as annual well-child visits and routine vaccinations.

What Risks Do Vaccines Pose for My Child?

The internet contains a great deal of information about vaccines. Unfortunately, some of the information is not accurate. It’s important to use credible sources and get answers you can trust when making health care decisions.

Vaccines are typically made from dead or weakened parts of viruses or bacteria that cause illness. These antigens cause our immune systems to react and build up antibodies, which then help protect us if we are exposed to the actual illness.

Vaccines go through stringent testing before being approved for use and are routinely monitored with any potential safety concerns thoroughly investigated. Common side effects include minor swelling and soreness at the injection site and/or a low-grade fever. These side effects are a result of the body’s immune system responding to the vaccine, and normally go away within a few days or even less.

Talk to your child’s doctor if you have concerns about potential side effects. Common vaccine questions are addressed on The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.

Routine vaccinations help protect children and adolescents from serious diseases that were once prevalent in the United States. Staying on track with vaccinations helps keep your child healthy, keeps them from missing school or childcare, and keeps you from missing work. Learn more about the illnesses vaccines prevent on the CDC website.

Child Vaccine Schedule and Important Immunizations

The vaccinations recommended for your child will depend on age, previous vaccinations received, and the vaccine being given. Routine vaccinations recommended by the CDC include the following.

  • Diphtheria, tetanus, and acellular pertussis (5-dose series, first dose at 2 months, last dose by 4-6 years)
  • Haemophilus influenzae type b (3 or 4-dose series, first dose at 2 months, last dose by 15 months)
  • Hepatitis A (2-dose series, first dose at 12 months, last dose minimum of 6 months later)
  • Hepatitis B (3-dose series, first dose at birth, last dose by 18 months)
  • Human papillomavirus (recommended for males and females; 2-dose series if initiated at 9-14 years; 3-dose series if initiated 15 years or older)
  • Influenza (annually starting at 6 months; 2 doses may be recommended for ages 6 months to 8 years if not previously received)
  • Measles, mumps, rubella (2-dose series, first dose 12-15 months, last dose by 4-6 years)
  • Meningococcal (2-dose series, first dose 11-12 years, last dose by 16 years)
  • Pneumococcal (4-dose series, first dose at 2 months, last dose by 15 months)
  • Inactivated poliovirus (4-dose series, first dose at 2 months, last dose by 4-6 years)
  • Rotavirus (2 or 3-dose series, first dose at 2 months, last dose by 6 months)
  • Tetanus, diphtheria, and acellular pertussis (1 dose at 11-12 years; 1 dose during each pregnancy)
  • Varicella (2-dose series, first dose at 12-15 months, last dose by 4-6 years)

You can find additional details regarding vaccination schedules on the CDC website.

Tips for Keeping Your Child’s Vaccinations on Schedule

Following the immunization schedule for your child is important. Consider these ideas to help ensure you’re able to meet important dates and deadlines.

  • Keep an immunization record and take it to your child’s health care visits and update records whenever your child receives a vaccination.
  • Ask your doctor if your child’s vaccination will be entered into the state registry. State registries, like the Wisconsin Immunization Registry, can be helpful if you ever misplace immunization records.
  • Ask your doctor’s office if they have a reminder system to notify you when your child is due for a vaccination.

Immunizations are an Important Part of Your Child’s Health. Stay Up to Date.

If you’re looking for information on how your health plan can help keep your child up to date on their immunizations, we’d love to help. Contact us today.

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