Whether families are as busy as ever, or sliding into the lazy dog days of summer — a D.C. pediatrician is reminding parents to make sure their kids get required immunizations before school begins this fall.
“As the parent of two boys, I can certainly understand how busy parents are juggling all of the responsibilities. But I will also say that pediatric offices around the area are really trying to make sure that kids get in, and they get these vaccinations, and they’re trying to make it easy,” said Dr. Anisha Abraham, pediatrician and acting chief of the Adolescent Medicine department at Children’s National Hospital.
Some immunizations are not one-and-done shots and will take longer than others to complete.
“For example, the meningitis vaccine may be a two-part series as is the human papilloma virus vaccine. So, being aware of that and knowing that it could be more than one vaccine that you need is important,” Abraham said. “Scheduling those appointments early can make the difference.”
Routine childhood immunization rates have taken a hit during the pandemic: The COVID-19 pandemic has fueled the largest continued backslide in child vaccinations in three decades, according to new data published by the World Health Organization.
“We know globally that about 25 million kids are missing out on their vaccinations right now. And there’s been a huge increase in, for example, measles in certain places,” Abraham said. “When you have, for example, people missing their measles, mumps, rubella vaccines, there’s certainly a likelihood that there could be, for example, a measles outbreak,” she said.
Parents and caregivers need to make sure they’re making appointments now with their health providers to ensure their kids get all of the series that they need.
The vaccines continue to be safe.
“These are vaccines that have been available for years. They’re there to prevent severe illness, sometimes death to ensure that kids stay safe and healthy and that they can go back to school,” Abraham emphasized.
“I want parents and caregivers to also know that Children’s National Hospital offers clinics in a number of locations throughout the metro area. So if anyone does need to get those routine vaccines or needs to get a routine physical exam, we are certainly available for them.”