Dr. Amanda Lovette, Pediatrician at Delta Health Pediatrics
Vaccination of your infant or child is an extremely important tool in the process of keeping him or her as healthy as possible. Vaccines protect against many severe or fatal illnesses such as whooping cough, tetanus, influenza, meningitis and pneumonia. Vaccination has reduced the rate of illness due to diphtheria, mumps, pertussis (whooping cough) and tetanus by up to 92 percent and deaths up to 99 percent from those same diseases. Transmission of polio has been eradicated in the United States because of the polio vaccine, and declines of 80 percent or greater have been seen for diseases such as hepatitis A, hepatitis B and varicella, or chickenpox.
Usually, vaccination rates in children for the most important childhood immunizations fall just shy of 70 percent on average. This is a statistic the CDC and pediatricians everywhere work tirelessly to improve. Vaccines have been shown over and over to save the lives of our children
The Covid pandemic, however, has had an unexpected effect on the rates of vaccination in children. Vaccination rates have taken a step backward since the beginning of the pandemic. Parents were told to keep their families socially distanced and at home, away from schools, churches, friends, and other families. Unfortunately, children stayed away from the doctor’s office as well. People were encouraged to delay non-urgent care, including well checks and immunizations.
Studies showed that all age groups showed gaps and delays in vaccinations. People who had normally brought their child in for routine health care visits and immunizations were now told not to do so, and the effect has persisted even as restrictions have eased in communities. Once a child is delayed in receiving his vaccinations, it is harder for him to catch up and get all recommended vaccines. And parents still have concerns that their child may be exposed to COVID or other illnesses at the doctor’s office, which may make them fearful of returning to their child’s healthcare provider’s office for routine well-checks.
Vaccines are very important to the health of our children, and as children return to in-person learning and playing, it is important to make sure they have had their regular checkups and vaccines. If your child is delayed in their immunizations, make plans now to get them caught up. Call your doctor’s office if you have concerns about what steps are being taken to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 or exposure to other illnesses. Some vaccines may be given at your child’s routine well check, but depending on how far your child is delayed, expect that you may need to bring your child for nurse visits to do further immunizations.
Take control of your child’s health and schedule their vaccines today. To make an appointment at Delta Health Pediatrics, call 970.546.4000 or visit deltahealthco.org.
Dr. Amanda Lovette is a Pediatrician at the Delta Health Pediatrics clinic located in Delta, Colorado. Lovette specializes in the general healthcare needs of infants, children and adolescents.