In the event of the coronavirus pandemic, millions are more vulnerable to sickness and death until a treatment is developed and approved. In the meantime, the Indiana Immunization Coalition urges parents and caregivers to keep up with their children’s immunization schedule for their protection against debilitating and potentially deadly diseases like measles and pertussis. This pandemic is making us even more aware of the serious consequences associated with a disease that has no immunization to provide protection.
“During this time, it is imperative that the recommended childhood immunization schedule is followed, for the safety of children and adults. Delaying for months or until the stay at home orders are lifted will only make children more vulnerable to preventable diseases.” said Lisa Robertson, executive director of the Indiana Immunization Coalition (IIC).
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that childhood vaccines continue to be given, stating, “If a practice can provide only limited well child visits, health care providers are encouraged to prioritize newborn care and vaccination of infants and young children (through 24 months of age) when possible.”
“Vaccines should be administered on a consistent basis in order for them to be most effective,” said Robertson. “You and your loved ones can safely stay up to date on essential vaccines while practicing social distancing. Parents and guardians should contact their pediatricians or local health clinics to determine their options during this time.”
Health care facilities all across the U.S. are imputing different policies and strategies to ensure patient safety during the pandemic, which includes seeing fewer patients in-person, using telemedicine appointments and suspending elective procedures.
While millions of Americans are out of work and struggling financially, keep in mind that no infant or child should be denied a vaccine due to insurance status or inability to pay. The CDC Vaccines for Children program offers immunizations at no cost to providers who serve eligible children. Children must meet at least one federal VFC eligibility criteria, including Medicaid eligible, American Indian or Alaska Native, uninsured or underinsured. Parents can contact their provider or local health department for information.
IIC encourages parents, guardians and caregivers to visit www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/hcp/ for more information and resources on infant and childhood immunization needs and schedules.