Parents are calling us and asking to cancel their well baby visits to the pediatrician. Tempted to cancel? Think again. If families allow their babies to get behind on their vaccines, we will risk other epidemics. It is important to vaccinate your children during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Before vaccines, babies died of polio, bacterial meningitis, pneumonia, blood infections, measles, and whooping cough. All of these infections are contagious. Babies need to stay on track to get immunized against these potentially lethal illnesses.
Vaccine preventable illnesses such as polio are still alive in the memories of those now experiencing the COVID-19 pandemic. Pictured to the right is a photo of members of Dr. Lai’s family. Great-Uncle Holloway, with the broken arm, and his cousin Billy were slated to go swimming soon after the photo was taken. Cousin Billy went, was exposed to polio at the pool, and died shortly after. In a twist of luck, Great-Uncle Holloway was spared because he had broken his arm and thus did not go to the crowded swimming pool that day.
We understand your fear of leaving home with your baby. We know that some families have difficulty obtaining transportation. But we know also that vaccine preventable illnesses are MUCH more dangerous than COVID-19 for our youngest children.
One day socially distancing will end, and on that day, babies will be more vulnerable to vaccine preventable illness. We cannot possibly catch up every single baby on our first day out of isolation. It is far better to keep your babies up to date on vaccines all along.
In the US, our American Academy of Pediatrics strongly urges pediatricians to continue to vaccinate our infants and younger children on time.
Pediatricians across the country, and the world, are adjusting how they see patients in their offices in order to protect their patients, as well as themselves, from acquiring COVID-19 in their offices. Ask what steps your baby’s doctor is taking to provide extra protection for your family.
Vaccines not only protect your own children, but they also protect everyone around them. Remember that some babies with immune system disease or other underlying medical reasons cannot receive some vaccines. Immunizing your child can protect these children as well as themselves.
We cannot stress more how important it is to vaccinate your children during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please share this post with anyone you know that has young children, especially babies, who are due for vaccines.
Julie Kardos, MD and Naline Lai, MD
©2020 Two Peds in a Pod®