Missed out on your kids’ vaccines during COVID? How to catch up
Plenty of childhood vaccinations that are considered routine among health professionals have taken a back seat during the COVID-19 pandemic, as many parents avoided non-emergency visits to the doctor's office.
If you're one of the parents who skipped out on any of these immunizations but want to get back on track, New Jersey health officials want you to know that it's possible to once again be current with what your kid may need.
"Now is the time to catch up on vaccinations to avoid preventable diseases like measles, chicken pox, and whooping cough, which can all be very serious for babies and young children," said Dr. Barbara Montana, medical director with the Communicable Disease Service at the New Jersey Department of Health.
New Jersey is sending a specific reminder to parents as part of National Infant Immunization Week, which runs through April 30.
Published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2022, a catch-up schedule for children and adolescents accelerates the vaccination timeline for families with young children who've fallen behind on immunizations, Montana noted.
"You can get multiple vaccines in a single visit," Montana said. "The vaccination schedules that are out there are proven to be safe and effective."
In addition to routinely recommended vaccinations, health officials are advising anyone aged 5 and older to become protected against COVID-19.
For several years, the rate of children meeting all immunization requirements for schooling has been higher than 94% in New Jersey. It dipped to 92.2% for 2020-21, the first full academic year following the onset of the COVID-19 crisis.
"The good news is that overall routine vaccination coverage does remain high, and we can recover ground lost during the pandemic," Montana said.
Dino Flammia is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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