By Dr. Brittany Middleton
Special to The Review
In light of the coronavirus pandemic, vaccination has become a topic of discussion. As we know, childhood vaccines are crucial for the health of our kids and community.
Each of the vaccines is important, especially the flu shot as we enter this year’s flu season during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control’s recommendation is to continue routine vaccinations, especially for children younger than 24 months. Yet there has been a decrease in vaccination rates among children. This is likely due to concern over COVID-19 exposure.
Pediatric offices have updated their protocol to adhere to social distancing guidelines, as it is critical that children receive their routine vaccinations to fight vaccine-preventable diseases. The job of any vaccine is to drive the immune system to produce antibodies against a particular bacterial or viral illness. This line of defense is created through a more efficient process than combating a primary infection. Without these early vaccinations, the body could likely go through severe and potentially life-threatening symptoms. Numerous studies disprove theories that vaccines overwhelm the body’s immune system, impair neurologic development or contain unsafe ingredients, and confirm that significant side effects are very rare.
The benefits of vaccinating far outweigh the risks. Just moving around freely in the world right now is not without risk. Let us be intentional with our movements and make decisions that will protect ourselves and those around us in both the short and long term. Contact your pediatrician to ask how he or she is making the flu shot and other vaccination visits safe for you and your child.
For more information about immunization by the American Academy of Pediatrics, visit healthychildren.org/english/safety-prevention/immunizations/Pages/default.aspx.
The writer is medical director of inpatient pediatrics at Huntington Hospital.