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Physicians Urge Families to Stay on Track with Immunizations

Boy smiling showing off band-aid on his arm.

Atrium Health Navicent encourages parents and caregivers to join the health system in observing National Infant Immunization Week, April 22-29, by ensuring that their children, particularly those ages 2 and younger, stay on track for routine check-ups and recommended vaccinations.

 

According to the World Health Organization, which also observes World Immunization Week this week, vaccines play a critical role in preventing more than 20 life-threatening diseases, helping people of all ages live longer, healthier lives. Immunization prevents millions of deaths every year from diseases like COVID-19, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, influenza and measles.

 

“Vaccinations are one of the most effective tools in medicine. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” said Dr. Christy Peterson, an Atrium Health Navicent pediatrician. “The sad thing is that vaccines are so effective that many people have forgotten how deadly many of the diseases they prevent can be.”

 

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 4 million deaths worldwide are prevented by childhood vaccination every year. In fact, vaccines are among the most successful and cost-effective public health tools available for preventing disease and death. Despite this, global immunization coverage for infants dropped to 81 percent in 2021, the lowest rate in over a decade.

 

The CDC reports that during the 2021–22 school year, national coverage with state-required vaccines among kindergarten students decreased again to approximately 93 percent for all state-required vaccines. An additional 4.4 percent of children were not up to date with measles, mumps and rubella vaccine.

 

“We do not want to go back to the way things were before vaccines, when children dying before age 2 was commonplace,” Peterson said. “Breastfeeding and vaccination together provide such a strong defense against disease that even a breastfed and vaccinated baby born with a compromised immune system is less likely to become sick until after the conclusion of breastfeeding.”

 

The protection some vaccines offer can fade over time, and you might need additional doses to maintain that protection throughout your life. By getting vaccinated, you protect not only yourself but also other people in your community. 

 

The CDC has issued the following age-based guidelines to help parents understand which vaccines children need as they grow up, and which vaccines are recommended for adults.

 

Birth to 15 months:

  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)

  • Hepatitis A & B

  • Rotavirus (RV)

  • Diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DTaP)

  • Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib)

  • Pneumococcal conjugate (PCV15, PVC20)

  • Polio

  • COVID-19

  • Flu

  • Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR)

  • Chickenpox


16 months to age 3:

  • Chickenpox

  • Diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DTaP)

  • Flu

  • Hepatitis A and B

  • Polio

  • COVID-19


Ages 4 to 10:

  • Chickenpox

  • Diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DTaP)

  • Flu

  • Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR)

  • Polio

  • COVID-19


Ages 11 to 18:

  • Flu

  • Human papillomavirus (HPV)

  • Meningococcal conjugate

  • Serogroup B meningococcal

  • Diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DTaP)

  • COVID-19

  • Dengue


Adults:

  • Flu

  • COVID-19

  • HPV for ages 27-45

  • Hepatitis B

  • Tetanus and Diphtheria booster is recommended every 10 years

  • Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) for ages 67 and older

  • Chickenpox for ages 44 and older

  • Zoster recombinant (RZV) for ages 50 and older

  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) for ages 60 and older

 

For more information about recommended vaccination schedules for infants, contact your child’s primary care provider. For information about services for children at Atrium Health Levine Children’s Beverly Knight Olson Children’s Hospital, visit ChildrensHospitalNH.org/LevineChildrens. For help finding a doctor, visit www.NavicentHealth.org and click “Find A Doctor.”

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