Understandably parents are focused on protecting their children from COVID-19, a new disease that is still a mystery in so many ways.

In the meantime, immunizations against well-known, familiar infectious diseases may be falling by the wayside in some households as parents steer clear of medical clinics. Even before the novel coronavirus hit, measles outbreaks surfaced in Minnesota within the last several years because vaccination rates weren’t what they should be.

Parents should keep to the schedule of their children’s vaccinations. The recent cancellation of regular checkups because of COVID-19 did not include the cancellation of well-baby checks and immunizations. Clinics have taken measures to make sure the general population is protected during appointments at their facilities.

COVID-19 pales in comparison to how contagious measles is, Dr. Jon Hallberg of the University of Minnesota Physicians Mill City Clinic told MPR News.

Like any infectious disease that has prevention available, the more people who gain immunity through vaccinations, the better the protection for the population as a whole, especially for those who can’t be vaccinated. That’s why the rush is on to quickly develop a vaccination against the novel coronavirus.

The percentage of children who have received recommended vaccinations is called the “coverage rate.” To protect the population from vaccine-preventable disease, the state health department says, goals call for 90% coverage among young children for individual immunizations and 80% coverage for the complete childhood immunization series.

The health department, care providers or the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd/vaccines-age.html) can provide parents with the recommended vaccination schedule for various diseases, some which need multiple doses.

It’s important that children are protected from the diseases that have nearly disappeared from the general population with the help of immunizations. The last thing anyone wants to see pop up during a pandemic is a resurgence of other preventable diseases that could make more people sick, especially children.

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