Many families have stayed away from the doctor during the pandemic; however it is important for parents to schedule regular physical examinations and recommended immunizations. Parents, children, and teens can have peace of mind knowing AltaMed is taking necessary precautions in response to COVID-19 and is practicing safe protocols necessary to keep families safe during this time.
As Californians prepare to resume in person learning, it is time to start scheduling your child’s required vaccinations if they are not up to date. Vaccines are one of the safest and most effective ways to protect your child’s health, and you can only get them in-person. According to the CDC, if your child is age 12 and up, they can and should get the COVID-19 vaccine along with the other shots that are required for summer camp or school.
Make Routine Exams a Priority
Routine physical exams play an important part in helping doctors identify and monitor any abnormal changes in your child. For other patients who are seeing a new provider, this is a great opportunity for them to establish a relationship with their doctor and share their health history.
Regular physical examinations are key opportunities to review new or previous family history with your physician that can affect your child’s development. Having open and thorough communication about this is a valuable way your doctor can assess risk factors and offer testing when necessary.
Regular physical examinations are also needed to monitor that important health factors like height to weight ratios and BMI (body mass index) are appropriate for your child’s specific body and developmental health. This examination also opens up the dialogue between the physician and your child for counseling about diet and exercise, useful for all teens regardless of current weight or relationship to nutrition and exercise.
Why Should I Vaccinate My Child?
Getting your child vaccinated between birth and six years of age protects them from 14 deadly diseases, including measles, mumps, 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 you 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, human papilloma virus (HPV), the collective Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis), and influenza (the flu). Meningococcal diseases are rare but are spread by sharing food and drinks or kissing. HPV is a sexually transmitted disease that can cause genital warts, and is associated with cervical cancer in women, and other types of cancers in both men and women.
The Tdap vaccine is a booster for the children’s DTaP vaccine, necessary for older children because the effectiveness of the first vaccine wears off over time. Doctors recommend that all children six months and older receive the flu vaccine every year because the flu virus changes each year.
How Safe Are Vaccinations?
The short answer is very.
Modern childhood vaccinations have been around for about 60 years. They were developed to stop the spread of infectious diseases that once killed thousands of people each year.
Vaccines are constantly re-evaluated and studied by scientists and researchers. Serious reactions to vaccines are rare, occurring only once in every million doses. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Immunization Safety Office, the current vaccine supply in the United States is the safest in history.
Are There Rules or Laws About Vaccines?
The State of California requires all children attending public or private school to receive the doctor-recommended immunizations for vaccine-preventable diseases. This mandatory vaccination helps keep overall immunity levels high and protects the community members, including other schoolchildren, who cannot receive vaccinations.
What About a COVID-19 Vaccination?
COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. The CDC recommends the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for persons 12 and older, and this includes simultaneous administration of COVID-19 vaccines and other vaccines on the same day, as well as co-administration within 14 days.
COVID-19 vaccines have been used under the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history, which includes studies in adolescents. Remember, your child will need a second shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine 3 weeks after their first shot.
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 0-17 years of age.
Again, we want to assure you how safe it is to bring your entire family to AltaMed for routine health visits. 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.