Getting kids back in school is important for their emotional, intellectual, and social well-being. Doing that safely means getting your kids to their pediatrician to make sure they are up to date on their required vaccinations.
Vaccinations are essential services that protect not only the children being vaccinated, but others in their communities. Understandably, routine well-child visits, which usually include vaccinations, dropped dramatically during the early days of the pandemic.
Getting your child vaccinated between birth and six years protects them from 14 serious diseases, including measles, mumps, chickenpox, rotavirus, and polio. Vaccinating your child also helps protect your friends, family, and neighbors who cannot get vaccinated themselves because they are too young or have certain health problems.
Children are most vulnerable when they are born, and they depend on their parents to make the right choices to protect them. It is critical to stick to the vaccination schedule provided by your child’s doctor. No matter the age, preventing dangerous diseases outweighs any possible side effects such as slight pain, swelling, or low-grade fever that your child may experience. These are important steps toward building your child’s immune system during their critical developmental stages.
Routine vaccinations are also needed during the adolescent years. The CDC recommends four vaccines for almost all children ages 11-12:
- Meningococcal vaccine protects against meningococcal diseases, which are rare but spread by sharing food and drinks or kissing.
- Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine offers strong protection against HPV, which can cause genital warts, and is associated with cervical cancer in women and other types of cancers in both men and women.
- The collective Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis) vaccine, a booster for the children’s DTaP vaccine, is necessary for older children because the effectiveness of the first vaccine wears off over time.
- Annual influenza (flu) shots are recommended by doctors for all children six months and older, because the flu virus changes rapidly.
It’s the Law
Learning institutions from day care through college require immunizations. Anywhere children are together, there is a risk of infection for those who are not immunized or who may have compromised immune systems.
The state of California has an immunization law that requires children to have certain vaccinations to attend public and private elementary and secondary schools, childcare centers, family day care homes, nursery schools, day nurseries, and pre-kindergarten centers. Those facilities are required to enforce the law and keep immunization records.
At some point, children will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccination. It may even become a requirement for returning to school. Clinical trials by Pfizer have shown its vaccine to be effective for children aged 12 to 15. The company is also starting trials on infants and young children.
It’s still unclear how many children have been infected with COVID-19 and how dangerous it is because testing has been focused on adults and those at risk for severe illnesses. However, there is evidence to suggest children can carry the virus just like adults and spread it to others.
Depending on how effective the vaccine is, there is a possibility annual doses may be necessary like with the flu vaccine.
Free Vaccinations at AltaMed
We encourage you to follow the immunizations schedule into adolescence, so your children are protected during every stage of their life. Here at AltaMed, all the vaccinations the CDC recommends are available free of cost! We provide childhood, adolescent, and HPV immunizations for patients from birth to 17 years old.
It’s more important than ever to stay safe and healthy. Call us at (888) 499-9303 to schedule an appointment with your provider to stay on track of your child’s immunization timeline.
AltaMed can provide information to you and your family about the best way to protect yourself and your family from COVID-19. To receive the latest news and information about the coronavirus pandemic, sign up today.