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It’s back to school time which means its very important to keep our children up to date on vaccinations, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Primary care and pediatric offices have made it easier now for parents to bring their children to their well visits and get up to date on all their vaccinations. New procedures have set in place to ensure patients can safely visit, including checking in from the car, limiting how many people can accompany a child, and requiring face masks. The last thing we would want is an avoidable outbreak such as whooping cough or measles, when the health care system is already overwhelmed and stressed by the COVID19 pandemic.
Vaccine in Adolescents and Children
Currently, no COVID-19 vaccine has been authorized for use in people younger than 12, but clinical trials are underway for children and younger adolescents.
At this time, there are three vaccines available: Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine: This vaccine can be used for people over 12 years of age. Moderna COVID-19 vaccine: This vaccine can be used for people over 18 years. The same critical processes to test the safety of these vaccines and clinical trials have been used for vaccines for flu, polio, measles, mumps, pertussis and more.
Children Can Get Sick and Infect Others From COVID19
COVID 19 can be life threatening, even in children. Typically babies and toddlers with underlying conditions and illnesses such as asthma, diabetes or obesity will be more likely to have severe illness from COVID19. Majority of healthy infants and children have mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. A recent study showed 185 children under the age of 18 have died from COVID-19, according to CDC data from
December 2020. Being vaccinated will help these numbers go down and help build stronger community immunity. Data from the COVID-19 vaccines suggests that vaccination prevents people from carrying COVID-19 without symptoms — something that has been seen often in children.
Help Stop The Spread
There are a few things we can all do to help stop the spread of COVID 19. Continue to wear a mask when outside of your home and in crowded areas. It is not recommended to put a cloth face covering on your baby, or any child under the age of 2. Continue to maintain 6 feet of distance from people outside of your immediate household members. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer if you’re not around a sink.
Diseases Without Vaccines Can Harm Our Nation’s Economy and Public Health
Before vaccines, statistics in the United States showed that every year, Polio would paralyze 10,000 children. Pertussis (whooping cough) would kill 8,000 infants. Measles would infect about 4 million children, killing about 500. Rubella (German measles) would cause birth defects and intellectual disabilities in as many as 20,000 newborns. Diphtheria would be one of the most common causes of death in school-aged children. A bacterium called Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) would cause meningitis in 15,000 children, leaving many with permanent brain damage. We thankfully do not worry about these life-threatening diseases anymore because of vaccine protection.
The Importance of Following CDC Recommended Schedule
Following the recommended immunization schedule protects infants and children by providing immunity early in life, when they are most at risk for getting seriously ill from these diseases if they are exposed. Infants and young children who do not follow the recommended immunization schedules and instead spread out shots—or leave out shots—are at risk of developing diseases during the time that the shots are delayed. This subsequently results in more frequent visits to the doctor’s office. The schedule is recommended by the CDC and is also approved by every major medical organization in the country, including the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Physicians. The CDC-recommended schedule is the only schedule that has been carefully tested, studied and reviewed by medical experts prior to being recommended for children.
It’s Normal to Have Questions—it Makes You a Good Parent!
Doctors and medical health professionals agree that vaccines are safe and effective, as shown throughout history. Make sure you are getting answers from credible sources. Talk to your child’s doctor and explore resources like IVaccinate.org. I Vaccinate provides Michigan parents with information and tools based on real medical science and research to help them protect their kids. Resources include a parent-focused, Michigan-specific website (IVaccinate.org), social media communities (@IVaccinateMI on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram), and more.