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Why is it so important for my kids to get caught up on their childhood immunizations during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Shaunte Anum-Addo, MD, FAAP


Why is it so important for my kids to get caught up on their childhood immunizations during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Although you are probably juggling a lot of responsibilities right now, making sure your children are up-to-date on their shots is one of the best things you can do to protect them against some pretty serious but preventable diseases.

Pediatricians have seen a sharp drop in vaccinations since the start of the pandemic, which is a really frightening trend. When children are not vaccinated, they are at risk of getting diseases like measles, polio and hepatitis A and B that can cause lifelong disability or death. Falling vaccination rates can lead to new outbreaks of dangerous diseases. And that's the last thing anyone needs on top of COVID-19.

Regular visits to the pediatrician

Immunizations usually take place at your child's check-ups. (Here are the recommended vaccination schedules for birth through age 6 and 7-18.) Keeping these appointments is very important so your kids don't miss out on shots or other important care, such as physical exams and health screenings.

But if your c​hild does miss a shot, you don't need to start over. Just go back to your pediatrician's office so your child can catch up with the vaccines they need to stay healthy.

​Wha​​t if we're low on money right now?

Job layoffs during the pandemic have caused many families to lose income and health insurance. It's important for parents to know that families who qualify can receive vaccines at no charge through the federally funded Vaccines for Children program.

​In addition to getting caught-up on routine immunizations, ​​here are some other reasons to visit your pediatrician right now:

  • Newborn visits

  • Hearing and vision screenings

  • To check on developmental milestones

  • To check blood pressure and other vital signs

  • To treat infections or injuries

  • Adolescent health concerns, such as menstrual care and depression screening​

  • Routine lab tests

  • For preparticipation physical examinations before returning to sports or other activities.

Call your pediatrician

Pediatricians are being extra careful to make sure their offices are safe. If you are worried about COVID-19, call your doctor's office to learn about the strict cleaning and disinfecting they are doing to keep everyone safe.

Do you have other questions about vaccines or well child visits? Be sure to ask your child's doctor. Pediatricians are seeing patients and available to answer any questions that you have. In fact, they would love to hear from you.​

More information

Shaunte Anum-Addo, MD, FAAP

Shaunte Anum-Addo, MD, FAAP, is a pediatrician at Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C., and a member of the AAP Section on Minority Health, Equity and Inclusion.

Last Updated
American Academy of Pediatrics (Copyright © 2021)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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