Keeping Your Child’s Immunizations Up to Date
Last year COVID served as a huge interruption to many aspects of our “normal” lives. From a healthcare perspective, one of the most notable interruptions was a major drop in regular doctor visits. Adults and children alike missed check-ups in record numbers. The decline was certainly understandable, as many families chose to keep their children away from public places in order to avoid sickness. However, well child checks are very important so your child’s healthcare provider can assess their development and administer childhood immunizations in a timely manner.
According to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control, there was a 14% drop in vaccines administered nationwide over the last year and a half. At Flagstaff Pediatric Care, we know just how important vaccines are for keeping our kids and our communities healthy. We are here to make it as easy and safe as possible for your children to stay up to date on their vaccines. Below is some helpful information on keeping up with your child’s immunization schedule.
Importance of Childhood Immunizations
As parents, it’s important to prioritize vaccination as one of the first steps to ensure all-around protection for your child. During the first few years, a child’s immune system is constantly developing, and they are therefore vulnerable to many diseases.
Administering the right vaccines can give them immunization against more than a dozen serious illnesses such as whooping cough or poliomyelitis, which may otherwise hamper their health and well-being in later life. Up-to-date vaccinations are crucial not just for your child, but also for everyone else around your little bundle of joy!
The World Health Organization estimates that vaccines prevent 4 – 5 million deaths every year. It is one of the most successful and cost-effective public health interventions. Immunization is necessary to prevent diseases from being passed on to other children in the community.
Keeping Track of Your Child’s Vaccinations
As your child develops, they will need several rounds of vaccinations, most of which will be completed between birth and six years. Most vaccines are administered more than once, at different ages, and in various combinations in order to provide the best defense against the disease.
If your child misses a vaccine, it is completely acceptable for them to “catch-up” at a later time. The already administered vaccines are still effective. Your doctor will carry on from the last shot administered (if you have questions about this, please ask your child’s provider).
Some parents choose to delay or decline their child’s vaccinations for personal reasons. The providers at Flagstaff Pediatric Care are happy to answer any questions you may have regarding your child’s vaccinations and their health.
Your Child’s Vaccine Records
Your child’s school or summer camp may request a copy of your child’s immunization records. At your child’s next appointment, you can ask a member of our team to print out our child’s immunization records. You can also download one directly from the Arizona Department of Health Services website.
The CDC outlines all the important vaccinations your child should undergo and at what age. Here is the recommended timeline:
- HepB: Hepatitis B vaccine. Ideally, the first dose is given within 24 hours of birth, but kids not previously immunized can get it at any age. Some low birth weight infants who are born early will get it at 1 month or when they’re discharged from the hospital.
- HepB: Second dose should be given 1 to 2 months after the first dose.
- DTaP: Diphtheria, tetanus, and acellular pertussis vaccine
- Hib: Haemophilus influenzae type b vaccine
- IPV: Inactivated poliovirus vaccine
- PCV: Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine
- RV: Rotavirus vaccine
- Hib: This third dose may be needed, depending on the brand of vaccine used in previous Hib immunizations.
- RV: This third dose may be needed, depending on the brand of vaccine used in previous RV immunizations.
6 months and annually
- Influenza (Flu): The flu vaccine is recommended every year for children 6 months and older.
- MMR: Measles, mumps, and rubella (German measles) vaccine
- Varicella (chickenpox)
- HepA: Hepatitis A vaccine; given as 2 shots at least 6 months apart
- HPV: Human papillomavirus vaccine, given in 2 shots over a 6- to 12-month period. It can be given as early as age 9. For teens and young adults (ages 15–26 in girls and boys both), it is given in 3 shots over 6 months. It’s recommended for both girls and boys to prevent genital warts and some types of cancer.
- Tdap: Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis booster. Also recommended during each pregnancy a woman has.
- MenACWY: Meningococcal vaccine: Protects against meningococcal bacteria types A, C, W, and Y. A booster dose is recommended at age 16.
- MenB: Meningococcal vaccine. Protects against meningococcal bacterium type B. The MenB vaccine may be given to kids and teens in 2 or 3 doses, depending on the brand. Unlike the meningococcal conjugate vaccine, which is recommended, the decision to get the MenB vaccine is made by the teens, their parents, and the doctor.
What Are the Implications of Delaying or Missing Vaccinations?
Delaying or missing your child’s vaccinations increases their risk of contracting a vaccine-preventable disease. This also causes a risk of lowered immunity in the community, making other children and adults vulnerable.
It’s best for vaccines to be administered at the right time to make them most effective. For example, a rotavirus vaccine should be administered at the right time since once your child reaches a certain age, it will not be effective.
At Flagstaff Pediatric Care, we want to partner with you to help keep your child up-to-date on their well checks and immunizations. Call us with any questions, or request an appointment today. We look forward to seeing you soon!