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Regular immunization is essential to your child's health, even now.

  • Category: News
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Laura Stokes, DO

Printed in the June 11, 2020 issue of The Worcester County TImes

Having a seriously ill child is any parent's nightmare. But it's worse if you realize you could have prevented your child's disease. That's one reason why keeping your child’s vaccines up to date is so important, even during the current pandemic.

My colleagues and I have noticed a drop in appointments scheduled for our pediatric patients’ routine vaccinations since COVID-19 reached the Eastern Shore, which is worrisome.

Vaccines help prevent many serious diseases. Children who aren't immunized at the right times are more likely to develop an illness that could cause problems such as brain damage, blindness, deafness, paralysis or even death.

But by doing your part and making sure your kids get the shots they need, you're improving their odds for a healthy childhood.

Kids should get their first vaccines at birth and at 2 months. Most remaining shots are given at regular visits within the first two years. Some are given much later. However, children who are behind on their shots can catch up to be protected.

Regular doctor visits are the best way to make sure your child gets the vaccines he or she needs.

Vaccines work by causing the body to produce antibodies that attack disease. The vaccines children should receive protect against a wide variety of illnesses including meningitis, pneumonia, polio, and measles.

Shots may be a little painful and cause your child to cry. After the shot, the area where it was given may be red and swollen. And the child may be fussy or have a fever for a day or two.

Your doctor will advise you of symptoms of a more serious reaction to a vaccine, which are possible but rare. The risk of a serious reaction is much less than the risks from the diseases vaccines protect against.

That being said, some kids should not get certain vaccines. You should check before getting a vaccine if your child has had serious reactions to other shots, has a decreased ability to fight infection or has certain types of diseases.

Doctors’ offices are taking special measures to sanitize their waiting rooms as well as the exam rooms, and to ensure social distancing and masking guidelines are followed. You’re welcome to call and talk to your child’s provider about any questions or concerns you may have about visiting. We’re safe, ready and waiting for you.