Even during COVID-19, don't skip your child's shots

Families are rightly focused on staying healthy during the pandemic. But health experts have an important reminder for parents: COVID-19 prevention shouldn't mean skipping your child's vaccines.

Vaccines help protect kids of all ages from serious diseases, like whooping cough and measles. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends children get many of their shots by age 2.

Despite that recommendation, alarming new data suggests that fewer kids have been getting their shots during the coronavirus crisis.

Recent drops in U.S. vaccine rates

One recent report looked at records from two children's vaccine programs. It compared the number of vaccine doses (other than flu shots) doctors ordered January through April 2020 to the same period in 2019.

Among the findings:

  • Vaccinations began to decline the week of March 16, 2020. That was just a few days after a U.S. state of emergency was declared because of COVID-19.
  • Far fewer vaccine doses were given during this period compared to the same time last year.

The findings raise a concern just as states start to reopen. Without children getting their routine shots, there could be a spike in other illness outbreaks in addition to COVID-19. That's why healthcare providers need to remind parents that vaccines are extremely important, even now.

Schedule your child's shots

Doctors' offices are taking steps to keep their patients safe during checkups and vaccine visits. If you think you may have fallen behind on your child's shots, talk to their doctor. They can fill you in on vaccine recommendations for your child.

Here are some shots that kids of different ages may need.

Infants and toddlers (birth to age 2 years)

  • DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis).
  • MMR (measles, mumps and rubella).
  • Chickenpox.
  • Pneumonia.
  • Hepatitis A and B.
  • Polio.

Preschoolers and school-aged kids (ages 3 to 10)

  • DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis).
  • MMR (measles, mumps and rubella).
  • Chickenpox.
  • Polio.

Preteens and teens (ages 11 through 18)

  • HPV.
  • Meningitis.
  • Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis).

Want more information about COVID-19? Visit our Coronavirus health topic center.

Reviewed 6/30/2020

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