Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States earlier this year, it’s been easy to dismiss the other illnesses that can affect ourselves and our children. Because of vaccines, diseases like polio, measles, mumps, and chickenpox are no longer the health threats they once were. But the reason they’ve been almost eradicated is because parents have made sure to vaccinate their children and prevent them from getting sick. According to Katie Willcox, D.O., both the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization have noticed a decline in vaccinations this year, primarily due to fears of COVID-19. “It’s understandable. Parents don’t want to bring their children into a doctor’s office or clinic. But it’s critical that we stick to the recommended immunization schedule,” she said. Dr. Willcox explained that the schedules are set so the immunizations are received when they are most effective. “It’s really important not to delay.”
Newborn babies get the Hepatitis B vaccine at birth. Then, beginning at two months old, they start getting routine vaccines including: Hib (Hemophilus influenza), Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR); chicken pox, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), polio, among others. “Some parents worry that we give their babies too many vaccines at once,” said Dr. Willcox. “But there is no data to support any issues related to giving multiple vaccines at one time, and in fact it has been shown to improve immunity when certain vaccines are administered together.
Most children receive their vaccines in the first year of life and continue through preschool at the age of four or five. At that point, they’re all set until they reach the age of 11 or 12. “We’ve started recommending Gardasil to prevent the Human Papillomavirus and the meningococcal vaccine for meningitis, with a booster again at age 16,” she said. “Our nurses here at the Mount Ayr Medical Clinic do a good job of keeping up with our patients’ immunizations. As children get older, they often get the vaccines during sports physicals when they’re needed.” Dr. Willcox emphasized the importance of 100% participation in a community when it comes to vaccinating children. “We have a way to prevent these communicable diseases that are transmitted from person to person. If we don’t have enough people participating, it doesn’t work. Vaccines protect our children.”
For more information, contact your medical professional, or schedule an appointment at the Mount Ayr Medical Clinic: 641-464-4470.