August is National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM), which highlights the significance of vaccinations for adults and children. With the onslaught of COVID-19 coupled with stay-at-home measures, medical providers have observed a dramatic decline in routine immunization services for children, causing concern for the potential exposure of many to vaccine-preventable diseases.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), maintaining scheduled vaccinations are vital for the health of children in order to prevent measles, whooping cough (pertussis) and 12 other serious diseases.
If fear of the coronavirus has caused disruption in your family’s immunization schedules or cancellation of important check-ups, consider taking the following steps to protect you, your family and others against serious illness.
1. Familiarize yourself with vaccination recommendations.
While immunization schedules are often concentrated on children, it’s important to recognize that vaccinations are a lifetime commitment. For adults, who may need to make vaccine decisions based on health, occupation, age and travel, the CDC has created an adult vaccine assessment tool. For parents, the CDC offers an Interactive Vaccine Guide that provides recommendations for vaccinations based on the different stages of life for children.
2. Schedule time to speak with your health care professional.
Your physician knows your health and your family’s medical history best and therefore will be able to provide personalized vaccination guidance. Because vaccines do require contact, in-person appointments are necessary. To keep your safety and health a priority, our physician offices maintain several safety precautions, including:
- Spacing out appointments to limit time spent in waiting areas and contact with other patients
- Screening of staff members at the beginning of their shifts for COVID-19-related signs or symptoms
- Wearing of masks by staff members and patients (over the age of 2)
- Practicing proper hand hygiene before interacting with patients
- Cleaning and sanitizing of all areas and rooms in between patient visits
If you have questions about additional safety measures and practices, be sure to ask when scheduling your appointment.
3. Spread immunization awareness, not illness.
At the end of the day, you have the power to protect yourself, your family and others through on-time vaccinations. While the coronavirus pandemic has caused delays in several aspects of life, make it a priority to not have it delay the care you and your family need. This August, help spread immunization awareness, not illness.
For more information on how vaccines or immunizations are an essential part of health, visit https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/index.html.
As information on COVID-19 evolves, guidance sourced from the CDC and other resources contained in this blog may be subject to change. This material is intended for general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your medical provider for personal care recommendations.