In August, while millions of moms and dads prepare to send their kids to back to school, Family Healthcare Associates would like to recognize National Immunization Awareness Month by encouraging all parents to get their children their routine immunizations. We realize some kids may not have gone to the doctor as often as they should during the pandemic, so it’s essential that parents get them updated on their vaccinations. Due to the fact so many kids chose remote-school last year, many of our schools loosened their vaccination requirements, so we have some catching up to do when it comes to our immunizations.

The CDC thinks so, too. Now that the majority of Americans have their COVID vaccines, a June 2021 CDC report found that many young children (and teens) missed important vaccines during the pandemic (even for deadly diseases like measles and whooping cough). Routine vaccinations for kids also dropped significantly for diphtheria, tetanus, acellular pertussis DTaP, measles, mumps, rubella as well as the human papillomavirus (HPV).

The CDC report says contributing factors for the decline were the stay-in-place orders from the government, coupled with closed medical facilities, and fear of contracting the COVID virus, which kept many families from visiting their doctor’s office. 

It’s important to note that vaccine hesitancy may have also played a role in the declining rates of routine vaccinations for kids in recent years. A 2019 national survey found that more than 6% of parents had concerns (or opposed) getting their kids routine vaccinations. Considering that the World Health Organization called vaccine hesitancy a global health threat in 2019, we want to assure all parents that vaccines are safe, effective, and save lives.

“Herd immunity” became a part of our lexicon during the COVID pandemic. But the concept applies to all communicable illnesses; the more children who are vaccinated against infectious diseases like HPV, diphtheria, mumps, and measles, the less likely mass infections will take hold among large groups of people. Fortunately, getting our kids vaccinated against these diseases is simple, but schools, families, and doctors must band together to ensure every child has their vaccinations before school begins.

Keep in mind, it’s not just kids who need their routine vaccines.

Did you know that if you are an adult with diabetes, you are at a higher risk of having serious issues if you contract a vaccine-preventable disease? In addition, every year, HPV causes over 33,700 cases of cancer (in men and women) in the United States—and the HPV vaccine will prevent most of these cases. Expecting mothers, also need vaccinations so if you’re having a baby, we recommend you visit the CDC’s interactive vaccine guide to see which vaccines you need to get as well as which vaccines your child will need throughout their life.

If you are unsure what vaccines you need, check out this online resource to see which ones are right for you. All parents have the power to protect their family against serious diseases, and Family Healthcare Associates hopes you will make it a priority by scheduling an appointment with one of our physicians today.