The COVID-19 vaccine may be top of the mind right now, but with school under way, parents should not forget to keep current with their child’s other immunizations.
ACMC Pediatrician Sampurna Shakya, MD, said following the vaccination schedule is important, especially as teens make those transitions into pre-teen and teen years. “Children are hopefully going back to in-school learning full-time this year and they need all the protection we can give them. It is also important for teens at college to be fully immunized since they are entering an environment with people from all over the world.”
Dr. Shakya said pediatricians in Ashtabula County continue to see a variety of patients with childhood illnesses that could be prevented by immunizing a child at the proper time.
“For example, we still see cases of pertussis or whooping cough, which is a serious respiratory disease that can spread between adults and children. It is preventable as part of the DTaP vaccine,” he said.
Vaccines are suggested for the following diseases:
- Measles, mumps and rubella (German measles).One vaccine protects against all three diseases. It's given in two shots.
- This vaccine is generally given in four shots.
- Pneumococcal disease.Pneumococcal bacteria can cause ear infections, meningitis, pneumonia, and the blood infection bacteremia. The vaccine is given in a series of four shots.
- Diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough.One vaccine protects against all three diseases. It's given in a series of shots.
- This prevents serious infections like meningitis and pneumonia. The Hib vaccine is given in a series.
- Kids need two shots to protect against hepatitis A and a series of three or four shots to protect against hepatitis B.
- A first dose is given after babies are one year old. A second dose is given later in childhood.
- Kids 6 months and older should get the flu vaccine each year.
- Meningococcal disease.This protects against meningitis and blood infections.
- This virus causes most cases of vomiting and severe diarrhea in infants. The vaccine is given in a series of two or three doses.
- HPV (human papillomavirus) can cause cervical cancer, oropharyngeal cancer, and genital warts. Both boys and girls should get this vaccine.
Dr. Shakya said not only are vaccines keeping your child safe, they are helping stop the spread of these diseases in your home, school, and community.
“Although all the unimmunized age groups are prone to getting these diseases easily, the people most at-risk are infants and children, those who have weakened immune systems due to poor health, and the elderly. We should do our part to protect our family and friends who are at-risk,” he said.
Pediatricians usually discuss the suggested vaccines at each well-child visit. The vaccinations are scheduled based on a child’s age. If your child has missed any of his or her vaccinations, the good news is they can catch up.
Dr. Shakya sees patients in Ashtabula and Geneva. To discuss your child’s vaccination needs, please schedule a visit with an ACMC pediatrician or family medicine specialist. To schedule an appointment, please call 440-997-6969.