Childhood Immunizations: Keeping Current and Staying Well
Not only are vaccinations required for most childcare facilities and schools, they are vital to protecting children from diseases caused by viruses and bacteria, like measles, mumps, polio and whooping cough. But what happens if your child falls behind on receiving these important shots? Dr. Ellen Davis, pediatrician with CaroMont Pediatric Partners in Gastonia, answers some common questions about the importance of childhood immunizations.
When should my child receive their vaccinations?
Childhood vaccinations are most effective when given on time, and at the right age. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends specific vaccines at specific ages on their website, but requirements can vary by state. While it may seem confusing and overwhelming, a trusted pediatrician can guide you through what vaccinations your child needs and when they need them.
Yes, children do fall behind for different reasons, especially in the last several years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a parent, making and keeping well visits with your child’s pediatrician can ensure they are appropriately protected.
Are vaccines safe?
Yes. Vaccines ensure that a child’s natural immune system will recognize and fight a variety of diseases not just now, but into adulthood. Additionally, vaccines don’t just lower their risk of catching a disease, but keeps other children who come in contact with them safe, too.
Historically speaking, vaccines have eradicated some diseases like smallpox and significantly decreased the severity of others like measles and COVID-19. All vaccines go through lengthy, mandated processes before they are approved for use and are continually monitored for safety and efficacy. Most childhood vaccines are well over 90% effective in preventing diseases like polio, mumps, rubella and others.
What should I do if my child is behind on recommended vaccines?
A pediatrician will be able to assist and ensure catching up is as easy and comfortable as possible. You don’t need to figure out which vaccines you’ve missed or what vaccine should come next. The most important first step is to make an appointment with a provider who will help you get back on track. We will review the immunizations delivered and make recommendations on how to catch up in a way that is best for you and your little one. Often, children can get caught up on any overdue vaccinations in one appointment.
Well visits are so important for you and your child. As a pediatrician, I partner with parents to make an individualized care plan. Their ongoing health and development is important to me and I want to ensure you, as a parent, can be confident that they will continue to grow and thrive.
Dr. Davis sees patients at CaroMont Pediatric Partners in Gastonia and was named a 2022 Top Doctor by Charlotte Magazine. With two convenient locations and an after-hours nurse line, CaroMont Pediatric Partners provides the kind of care that can help you and your little one feel better, faster.