If you've put off getting your child’s routine vaccinations during the COVID-19 pandemic, you’re not alone. More children are reportedly skipping immunization shots, including the measles vaccine.
But pediatricians have taken steps to make it safe to bring your child in for appointments and to make you feel safe while doing so.
Importance of Vaccines
Doctors recommend that all children, from babies to teens, get scheduled vaccines. The youngest kids need the most immunization shots. From birth to age 2, your child should get vaccines to protect against 14 diseases. They include hepatitis, polio, measles, mumps, and rubella.
Starting as early as age 11, doctors suggest your child get the HPV vaccine. It protects against human papillomavirus, which can cause cervical, throat, and other types of cancer.
Skipping or delaying critical vaccines raises the chances that your child may catch a preventable disease or get very sick. Your child also may be more likely to spread infections to other kids who can’t get vaccinated because of a weakened immune system.
Getting Vaccines During COVID-19
You naturally may worry that taking your child to the doctor for non-emergency visits may expose you or your child to the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. But pediatric practices are following guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics and other organizations for safe ways to help your child stay current with their immunizations.
Your child’s doctor will safeguard your health by making sure that they:
- Check your and your child’s temperature and screen for other symptoms of COVID-19 when you arrive
- Require all visitors and staff to wear masks or other personal protective equipment
- Rearrange waiting rooms to allow space for social distancing
- Disinfect exam rooms, equipment, and other spaces between uses
For vaccination appointments, your child’s doctor also may:
- Schedule special kids-only hours
- Ask you and your family to wait outside or in your car until they’re ready to examine your child
- Set up a separate entrance or area for kids' wellness visits
- Offer a drive-up service for checkups and vaccines in your car