Importance of vaccines during COVID-19
Since the COVID-19 national emergency declaration on March 13, 2020, fewer childhood vaccines have been administered. According to the CDC, childhood vaccinations have dropped by about 15% in the past few months. This can have long-term impacts, not just on a child’s health but also on a community’s well being.
The majority of vaccines are administered during childhood to have the best impact on long-term health. While some vaccines can be administered at any time, there can be consequences if your child misses their scheduled timing and remains unvaccinated. Thankfully, clinics around the nation are working to make it safe for parents to bring their children in to stay on top of vaccination schedules, and for adults to get the flu shot vaccine once it’s available.
Why are vaccines important?
Vaccines are a key part of preventive healthcare, and are especially important for children. Infants receive some immunity from their mothers, but this immunity wears off after a year. By getting vaccinated throughout childhood and into adulthood, we stay healthier, potentially avoid infectious diseases, and contribute to herd immunity. Herd immunity means enough people in the community are immune to a disease so that those who are unable to get vaccinated, like people with auto-immune diseases, are indirectly protected.
How to schedule vaccines during COVID-19
While hospitals and clinics are asking everyone to be thoughtful and not visit public spaces if unnecessary, families should try to stick to the CDC’s recommended vaccine schedule. Vaccines can be a part of your child-well visit or, if necessary, you can make a separate appointment just for a vaccination. Clinics are open and ready to see you and your child, but there may be some differences from the last time you were in the clinic. Follow these steps to make your trip as smooth as possible:
- Schedule your vaccination appointment early! Pediatricians may have shorter hours or even fewer days when they’re taking in-person Planning ahead will make sure you can get an appointment that fits your schedule.
- Ask about new safety You may be required to wear a mask and there may be safety measures like temperature screenings at the door and fewer people in waiting rooms. All of this is in place to keep you and your healthcare providers safe.
- Prepare your child for the By this point, seeing people in masks and even wearing a mask is probably.
normal for your child. But talking to your child about masks and the importance of not touching surfaces while in the waiting room and staying away from other people will help make the trip a little easier.
The flu vaccine during COVID-19
The flu shot, or influenza vaccination, is recommended for everyone older than 6 months. The flu shot protects against the flu by either preventing people from getting it, or decreasing its severity for those who do get it. We all need a flu shot every year because the immunity we receive only lasts about one year. Plus the virus mutates over time, so the strain that last year’s flu shot protected against might not protect you from this year’s flu strain.
It will be crucial that everyone who is able to get a flu shot get this vaccine in 2020. The more we can do to reduce respiratory illnesses, the healthier we can keep our communities and avoid overwhelming our healthcare systems.
For more information about vaccinations during the pandemic, visit the CDC’s guidelines.