Here’s what parents need to know about childhood vaccination amid COVID-19

Child vaccination is crucial to guard against diseases by bolstering their immune system. Read on to know what Dr. Atish Laddad, Founder & Director at Docterz has to say about the importance of childhood vaccination and how to deal with it.
People,parenting,childhood vaccinationHere’s what parents need to know about childhood vaccination amid COVID-19
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The outbreak of the pandemic has come along with its bouts of uncertainty, this is particularly true with regards to child healthcare. Lockdown has brought many things to a standstill due to the anxiety of getting infected by the virus. Amidst this ambiguity, the health sector is making all efforts to reorient itself trying to keep up its fight against the crisis, while also making sure its services, especially child immunisations go on normally. However, parents who normally support vaccinations have been reconsidering their decision of taking their kids to the paediatrician to immunise them. 

While parents’ fears about Coronavirus exposure are comprehensible, their actions may encourage the spread of other, vaccine-preventable diseases such as whooping cough or measles. Being unsure about the safety associated with routine pediatric vaccinations in the midst of the pandemic, they tend to postpone child vaccinations. Parents must comprehend that getting a vaccine shot in a paediatricians clinic is not likely to surge a child’s exposure to the virus. Due to these apprehensions, our country might witness a rise in overdue vaccination cases as a substantial number of children remain unvaccinated or are partially vaccinated. Vaccinations are important to make one immune towards infections; parents must bear in mind that postponement in vaccination during the current lockdown can have unavoidable ramifications on the child’s health.

Children are at great risk of contracting infections due to their maturing immune system. Immunisation has a crucial role to play in every child’s life as it facilitates in protecting them against transferrable viruses. Parents must never fail to administer vaccines for infants, toddlers and preschoolers as per the suggested schedule. With its routine vaccination programs, India has made noteworthy advances over infectious ailments like measles, polio, rubella and smallpox. By missing out on vaccinating your child, he or she will be at an amplified threat of these vaccine-preventable diseases. For example, primary vaccines such as Rotavirus, Polio, Diphtheria, Pertussis and Tetanus (DPT) and Pneumococcal Conjugate are planned at six, ten and fourteen-week of a child’s life and parents must prioritise the same. Likewise, the measles vaccine must be given to the child after nine months of age without fail.

How do vaccines work?

Vaccines aid in training our immune system to combat infections by presenting a deactivated form of a germ into the body. Since it is incapacitated, it cannot make us fall sick. However, it activates our body’s immune system to generate necessary defences called antibodies. If you ever tend to fall prey to the germ, your body’s immune system will already be competent enough to know how to battle it.

A delay in vaccination is controllable, but it is significant to administer the postponed doses as soon as it is practicable. Parents must never miss a vaccination since the missed dose might put the child at an increased risk of contracting the disease the vaccine was meant to guard against. Another concern while dealing with childhood vaccines during such unprecedented times is whether it is safe to get newborn babies vaccinated. Parents must understand that it is advisable to get newborn babies injected with a preliminary set of immunisations like BCG and Hepatitis-B at the maternity hospitals itself. To evade needless exposure to COVID, minor consultations for the baby can be directed over a call and for mandatory clinic visits, your paediatrician can give you prior appointments by following strict social distancing protocol. 

This outbreak is a cue to parents about how valuable vaccines are and when there is a vaccine obtainable for a disease; parents must keep themselves informed about the same. The fear of the global crisis is understandable, and parents are right in wanting to ensure that their kids are safe. But denying or suspending vaccines for avoidable diseases will do just the opposite.

By Dr. Atish Laddad, Founder & Director at Docterz,

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