By Carlisle Livingston, MD

During the pandemic, you’re probably feeling a lot of uncertainty. You are worried about keeping your family safe and unsure if you should leave your house, much less take your child to the doctor. It’s still important to attend well-child visits, especially if vaccines are scheduled for those appointments. Read on for four reasons why your child needs vaccines — even during a pandemic!

1. There are still other diseases out there.

The reason we vaccinate for the things we do is that those diseases still exist. Pertussis, or whooping cough, is still present in adults as their immunity wanes. It can be passed to children. Tetanus lives in the soil and isn’t going anywhere. And these are just two examples! Children still need to be protected even when they aren’t necessarily going out in public. The last thing we need after the COVID-19 pandemic is a whooping cough outbreak in babies.

2. Your doctor’s office is making changes to protect their patients.

If you’re not sure what your doctor’s office is doing to keep you and your family safe, call and ask. Many offices are taking precautions like:

  • Screening patients and families at the door
  • Offering telehealth visits
  • Keeping separate waiting areas for sick and well patients
  • Seeing high-risk patients in their cars.

You may be asked to limit the number of people coming to the visit. Wash your hands frequently, wear a mask, and follow the rules your provider’s practice has in place.

3. Some of the diseases we immunize against used to be just as scary.

People feel fear and unease when a loved one is diagnosed with COVID-19. That’s exactly how parents used to feel when their child had diphtheria. There are chilling pictures of rows of iron lungs filled with infants with polio. Chickenpox and measles seem mild now. They didn’t to the parents whose children died from inflammation in the brain caused by these viruses.

The drive to develop a vaccine for COVID-19 is the same thing that led us to the vaccination schedule we have today. We would like to avoid those frightening scenarios returning in the future.

4. The CDC chose the guidelines for a reason.

Immunization recommendations are based on risks to children at specific times in their lives. The official schedule balances the earliest and best protection from disease with the lowest risk of side effects. It’s based on exhaustive research. For example, young infants are at the highest risk of bacterial meningitis from Pneumococcus and H. influenza B. Infants receive vaccinations for these diseases starting at two months. That’s the youngest age at which the vaccine has been shown to be both safe and effective.

Is your child due for a well-child visit, and you are unsure if they need shots? Are you unsure if they should come in? Please call us at (662) 256-9331 or send us a message. We are happy to answer your questions!