• Printer Friendly Version
  • Decrease Text Size Increase Text Size
  • Download as PDF

Protect Your Children by Keeping them Up to Date on Life-saving Vaccinations

August is National Immunization Awareness Month

The summer has flown by, and many families are trying to navigate this new back-to-school landscape. While COVID-19 has changed nearly every facet of our lives, it has certainly taken a toll on vaccination rates nationally and locally. Now’s the time to be sure your child is up to date on vaccinations, as many children have fallen behind.

Vaccines are an easy and effective way to prevent many potentially fatal diseases in babies, children and adults. The vaccine schedule, agreed upon by many international health organizations, serves to protect children from diseases at the times they are most vulnerable. As one example, the measles vaccination (in the “MMR” vaccine) is estimated to have saved 17.1 million lives worldwide and prevented millions more infections from 2000 to 2015, according to the World Health Organization. 

Unfortunately, as families have remained “Safer at Home,” many children have fallen behind on immunizations due to missing routine medical appointments. This is especially true for infants and children under 2 years of age.  

During this pandemic, many experts warn that by missing well-child care and vaccinations, we may be facing yet another pandemic of vaccine-preventable diseases such as whooping cough (pertussis) and measles. If we do not ensure that all eligible children receive vaccinations on time, there will be gaps in our “community immunity,” and outbreaks of disease can occur. That would be the last thing our families need to face.

As we approach the fall months, please be sure to take your child to get the influenza vaccination. Children over 6 months are able to get the flu vaccine, and this will help their immune systems learn to fight the flu before they face infection from it. This can help lessen severity of the disease, prevent hospitalization and death from influenza, or prevent them from developing symptoms at all. COVID-19 infection rates will likely increase in the fall and winter months, coinciding with the usual influenza season. Infections with both viruses have been reported and were more severe than with just one alone. Protecting your child against influenza can ensure you are doing all you can to keep them as healthy as possible this fall and winter.

Clinics and hospitals have taken many safety precautions to keep you and your family safe during visits. So please remember to schedule well-child exams and immunization visits. It’s an easy way to be sure your child is growing and developing appropriately, check in on any medical issues, and get him/her up to date on vaccines. Please call for an appointment today. We are excited to see you again!

To view the CDC’s recommended vaccination schedule for babies, children, teens and adults, visit aspirus.org/healthy-living and click on the Immunizations tab or click on this link: https://www.aspirus.org/healthy-living

To listen to a podcast by Aspirus pediatrician Dr. James Black, MD, please visit aspirus.org/podcasts or click on this link: https://www.aspirus.org/podcasts/even-during-covid19-dont-skip-your-childs-shots--185

Other excellent resources for information on childhood vaccination include:

Healthy Children (from the American Academy of Pediatrics) immunization information resources

https://www.healthychildren.org/english/safety-prevention/immunizations/Pages/default.aspx

Vaccine Education Center from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
https://www.chop.edu/centers-programs/vaccine-education-center

 

Dr. Amy Falk, MD is a board certified pediatrician with Aspirus Doctors Clinic in Wisconsin Rapids. She earned her medical degree from the Chicago Medical School at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science and completed her pediatrics residency at American Family Children’s Hospital at UW Hospital & Clinics in Madison.