The rapid spread of COVID19 has been a devastating reminder of how essential vaccines are to the health and safety of society. But while we wait for a coronavirus vaccine, we must continue to maintain immunization schedules to stop the spread of diseases that we do already have vaccines for.
All parents want to protect their children, and understandably, some may feel nervous about bringing their children to a doctor’s office at this time. However, skipping routine immunizations can lead to a dangerous decline in community immunity and have negative impacts on the health of our children and vulnerable citizens.
We asked Dr. Shobana Pandian MD, FAAP, a General Pediatrician at Community Health Network, to answer some common questions about maintaining immunizations during the coronavirus pandemic .
Should my child still get routine vaccines during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Yes! The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children stay on schedule for their routine vaccinations, a critical guideline that pediatricians are supporting throughout the country. We want everyone to stay safe during this time, but we also want to help with preventing other diseases from surging during this pandemic.
Is it safe to bring my child to their pediatrician’s office?
Yes. Most offices have developed procedures for bringing patients to rooms directly without waiting in the waiting room, and some offices have set rooms for well babies and well-checks during specific times of the day. Rooms are cleaned and wiped down between patient visits. It may help ease your concerns to ask your child’s doctor’s office about which procedures they have in place when you’re scheduling your appointment. Many offices are letting families know ahead of time only to bring one adult and the patient to the visit, and screeners are usually upfront, asking questions before entering the office. As the concerns for COVID-19 are raising caution and awareness, we hope parents know we are still here for families to provide care for their children.
If my pediatrician’s office is closed, is there somewhere else I can bring my child for vaccination?
Please check with your local Indiana State Health Department; they will direct you to a location that can help with vaccinating your child. Maintaining routine immunizations by keeping on schedule for vaccines is our overall goal, so it is important to vaccinate children on time.
What happens if I decide to wait until the pandemic is over and delay my child’s vaccination?
Delaying vaccines can cause the reemergence of preventable diseases. Outbreaks of different infections such as pertussis or measles can be life-threatening to a child. AAP continues to support vaccinating children throughout the pandemic and urges you to contact your child’s pediatrician for the best options.