I know it’s been weird for everyone. I was proudly announcing my third pregnancy in March of 2020, and then found myself home with the whole family during my entire first trimester. Over time, things changed, as they do. The pandemic changed, and our individual, national and global reactions did, too. My pregnancy changed, as they do, and then I had my beautiful baby, Rider, who just turned one! It’s been a marathon, and not a sprint, and while it changes, there are just some things that don’t, and shouldn’t. It’s funny. When all of this started, I remember almost having a mental list of the things I could let go of, like being able to find toilet paper and hand soap regularly on shelves, and getting my eyebrows done. Then there were the things we discovered were NON-negotiable, like regular doctor and dental visits, and of course, vaccines.
A Parent’s Guide to Vaccines in 2021:
Time to Schedule:
Did you know that a lot of children have fallen behind on their routine vaccinations, due to the pandemic? We usually have our annual well-visits in the summer for both older kids, but we didn’t schedule them to go until the following spring! This is not like us, but with the pandemic and the baby, this is what happened. Neither kid was due for any vaccines during the summer of 2020, but of course, it’s important to schedule well-visits and vaccinations, even if they’re not at the same time. When we finally did go, Des had a routine well-visit without vaccinations, but Scarlet was due for a few vaccinations, like, Meningococcal, HPV (totally new for us), and Tdap. We actually had no idea she was due for those shots, and we are very happy we scheduled the visit. We all four got our flu shots on the same day, and since I’m currently pregnant with #4, my midwives offered it. And lastly, baby Rider just had his one year vaccines, including his flu shot!
Parents are always juggling a lot of responsibilities, and during the pandemic, it’s been triple-fold. Or more! It’s important to make sure that your children are up-to-date on their shots and this is one of the best things you can do to protect them against some pretty serious but PREVENTABLE diseases. I really think about that a lot. I mean, I’m always thinking of their health! We all got our first illness since before COVID-19 within the last month. It was just a cold, (negative testing and symptoms proved it) but the baby didn’t get it. And it made me think about how nursing him for nine months might have prevented it. And it made me think about how happy I am that we’re fully caught up with vaccinations for everyone right now. A simple visit (well, it’s never simple, but simple to decide to schedule it) to your pediatrician’s office is something to check off your to-do list! They are a trusted source to answer your questions.
Parents are Superheroes:
Parents protect their children, each and every day. It’s amazing, isn’t it? I think of all of the precautions I take IN A SINGLE DAY to protect baby Rider (who is ON THE GO) and the unborn baby. And it’s easier with the older kids, because they help take care of themselves, but we send them to school five days a week, and that can be scary. I’ve kept up with vaccinations since all of their births, because vaccines are an effective and proven way to keep them healthy and safe. Going to the pediatrician, and yes, even during COVID-19, is important and safe. Our pediatrician has many protocols to keep the kids safe when visiting the office, including seeing infants first in the day, and also keeping well visits and sick visits separate, and keeping COVID-19 tests and office visits in a separate part of the building with its own entrance. We have never felt unsafe.
What You Can Do Today:
- You can call your pediatrician. They’re there to help! Find out if your children are due for any vaccinations or appointments.
Help your family fight the flu. The Flu can be a very serious illness, and can cause thousands of deaths in the US every year, even among previously healthy children. The Flu vaccine is the best tool we have to protect our children, including those with special health care needs.
Find out more about the AAP! They strongly recommend on-time vaccines of all children and adolescents, as these are one of the greatest public health achievements. Immunizations have prevented tens of thousands of deaths, millions of cases of disease, and have saved billions of dollars per decade. They are a safe and effective way to prevent children from disease, including some cancers, as well as hospitalization, disability, and death. You can find out more about this initiative here.
The Flu Shot:
As I mentioned, Rider just got his flu shot at his one-year well visit. The AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) recommends the annual influenza vaccine for everyone six months of age, or older. We didn’t get Rider the vaccine at his sixth-month or nine-month appointments, ONLY because they took place in spring and summer, and so there was no flu shot yet for this season. Remember that pediatricians have seen a sharp drop in vaccinations since the start of the pandemic, which is a really frightening trend, and we can help protect our children, and also, other children around us. On top of COVID-19, the last thing anyone needs is the risk of getting diseases, such as measles, polio, and hepatitis A and B. They can cause lifelong disability or death.
Leave a Reply