By Brittany Middleton, MD, Medical Director of Inpatient Pediatrics, Huntington Hospital
In light of the coronavirus pandemic, vaccination has become a topic of discussion. As we know, childhood vaccines are crucial for the health of our kids and our community. Each of the vaccines are important, especially the flu shot as we enter this year’s flu season during the COVID-19 pandemic. The CDC’s recommendation is to continue routine vaccinations, especially for children less than 24 months. Yet there has been a decrease in vaccination rates among children. This is likely due to concern over COVID-19 exposure.
Pediatric offices have updated their protocol to adhere to social distancing guidelines as it is critical that children receive their routine vaccinations to fight vaccine-preventable diseases. The job of any vaccine is to drive the immune system to produce antibodies against a particular bacterial or viral illness. This line of defense is created through a more efficient process than combating a primary infection. Without these early vaccinations, the body could likely go through severe and potentially life-threatening symptoms. There are numerous studies that disprove theories that vaccines overwhelm the body’s immune system, impair neurologic development, or contain unsafe ingredients and confirm that significant side effects are very rare.
The benefits of vaccinating far outweigh the risks. Just moving around freely in the world right now is not without risk. Let us be intentional with our movements and make decisions that will protect ourselves and those around us in both the short and long term. Contact your pediatrician to ask them how they’re making the flu shot and other vaccination visits safe for you and your child.
For more information about immunization by the American Academy of Pediatrics, please visit: https://www.healthychildren.org/english/safety-prevention/immunizations/Pages/default.aspx