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Routine Vaccinations - Keeping kids safe in a not-so-routine time

Routine Vaccinations - Keeping kids safe in a not-so-routine time

As we navigate the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, keeping your family safe has never been so important. Infection control restrictions such as physical distancing, hand washing, and wearing face masks can help reduce transmission of many infectious diseases, but keeping our communities healthy is more vital than ever. Ensuring that your children’s routine vaccinations are up to date helps protect the young, the elderly, and the medically vulnerable as well as our front-line workers and first responders.

“Vaccines and clean drinking water have saved more lives than any other health interventions in history,” said Dr. Joan Robinson, author of the  CPS position statement on improving childhood immunization rates in Canada. “The last thing we want is to come out of a pandemic and into community outbreaks of serious – and preventable – diseases.”1

Delaying or avoiding routine vaccinations can leave your child at increased risk for common and serious childhood infections. The Canadian Paediatric Society (CPS) is urging parents and vaccine providers to continue with routine immunizations for children and youth across Canada throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.1

Priority immunizations for infants and children help prevent 12 potentially dangerous diseases, including whooping cough (pertussis), tetanus, measles, and meningitis.2 These important primary series / booster doses are given at 2, 4, and 6-months; at 12 and 15-months; and at 18-months of age.

Luckily, in some cases, just one vaccination can protect against a number of preventable diseases – the 5-in-1 vaccine protects children from Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), Polio, and Haemophilus influenzae b, and in some provinces, the hepatitis B vaccine is also included, making it a 6-in-1 vaccine.3

In the event that school-based immunization programs for children and adolescents (hepatitis B, meningococcal-C-ACYW, and human papilloma virus (HPV)) are delayed, catch-up doses of most routine vaccines can be given at the earliest opportunity determined safe, potentially through collaboration between local public health units, school partners and primary care providers, the Canadian Immunization Guide (CIG) states.2

In addition to the usual recommended and required practices, health care providers have clear guidelines for enhanced infection prevention and control measures4, including special scheduling measures to ensure physical distancing. They are also advised to provide routine vaccinations during health care visits scheduled for other reasons.2

Because COVID-19 illness and outcomes are more severe for seniors (especially those over age 70) and individuals with certain medical conditions (e.g. immunodeficiency, cardiovascular disease), those at risk should avoid going to a clinic, and instead seek out other opportunities to get the immunizations they need. Call your immunization provider or health care provider to find out more.2

We have all learned more about the importance of controlling the spread of infection than we could have imagined less than a year ago. Still, dealing with the pandemic may be especially difficult for children and teens. The CPS has handouts on topics from school closures to hand sanitizer use to Helping children and teens cope with stressful public events.5

Brought to you by Vaccines411.ca – know where to go for your vaccinations.

This information should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your doctor. There may be variations in treatment that your physician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.

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  1. Stick to immunization schedule during the COVID-19 pandemic, paediatricians urge
  2. Guidance for Immunization Service Providers During COVID-19
  3. 5-in-1 or 6-in-1 vaccine
  4. Providing virtual care during a pandemic: A guide to telemedicine in the paediatric office
  5. COVID-19 and your child