The world can be a scary place, especially now. Coronavirus has claimed more than 1.10 million lives in the U.S. During the height of the pandemic, parents were hypervigilant in protecting their families, hand washing, wearing masks, social distancing, getting vaccinated — anything to keep their families safe.
But, unfortunately, COVID-19 isn’t the only disease to be scared of — vaccine-preventable diseases like Whooping Cough, Measles, and Mumps continue to circulate, and immunizations against these have been declining.
Whooping cough is a significant cause of death in infants; in 2019, more than 18,500 cases were reported in the United States. In 2019, there were more than 1,200 cases of measles in the US, 128 of those required hospitalization, and sadly, 61 resulted in complications, including pneumonia and encephalitis. And Mumps has been circulating again; 322 cases were reported in 2022.
COVID-19 is scary and unpredictable. But whooping cough, measles, and mumps are scary too. Thankfully, there are vaccines to protect your children from those diseases too.
Something else to be thankful for — our brave healthcare workers! Clinicians and Pediatricians are working hard during this pandemic to continue to see patients safely. They are taking steps to protect their patients and to prevent children from falling behind on routine immunization. Some offices are:
- scheduling “sick” appointments at different times than “well” appointments.
- having separate “sick” and “well” areas in the office.
- conducting phone check-ins so patients can wait in their cars instead of in the office.
- decreasing the number of appointments for each time slot so that fewer people are in the office at any one time.
- providing drive-up vaccine programs.
Having a disease that we cannot prevent with immunization circulating is scary, but please, don’t let fear stop you from protecting your children against things you can protect them against, like vaccine-preventable diseases.
So, before canceling any upcoming childhood vaccination or well-visit appointments, call your pediatrician to find out what precautions they are taking to keep everyone safe from COVID. Call, don’t cancel!