Childhood Vaccines Are As Important As Ever

Vaccines have been in the news a lot recently, as researchers race to create a new vaccine to protect against COVID-19. But it’s important to keep your child’s other vaccinations up-to-date, too.

“August is National Immunization Month—a reminder to parents that kids need to have required vaccines before another school year begins,” said Virginia Dolan, MD, of Memorial Physician Services. “As all parents know, this school year will be different from years past. But vaccination is just as important as ever.”

School-aged children are recommended to stay current with the following vaccines:

  • Students beginning kindergarten: Required preschool vaccinations, including measles-mumps-rubella-varicella (MMRV) and diphtheria-tetanus-acellular pertussis-polio (DTaP-IPV)
  • 11-year-olds: Recommended to start human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine; a second dose can be given in six months or at the next year’s checkup
  • 11- and 12-year-olds: Tetanus-diptheria-acelluar pertussis (DTaP) vaccine and the first dose of meningococcal ACWY (MenACWY-D) vaccine
  • 16-year-olds: Second dose of meningococcal ACWY (MenACWY-D) vaccine

While prevention of COVID-19 is a top priority for parents, it’s important to remember that childhood diseases like measles and pertussis are still a threat. Illnesses like these can cause dangerous complications, but they’re easily preventable with a simple vaccine.

“We don’t want to follow this pandemic with an epidemic caused by one of these diseases we have already conquered through effective vaccination,” Dr. Dolan said.

Although vaccinations require an in-person visit to the doctor’s office, parents shouldn’t hesitate, she added.

“Some parents are apprehensive about taking their children to annual doctor’s appointments during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Dr. Dolan said. “But at Memorial Physician Services, we’ve instituted safety protocols that make your back-to-school visit safer than ever. Don’t hesitate to make an appointment.”

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