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We know that throughout the COVID-19 pandemic people have made changes to their lifestyle routines. For many of you that may have included not engaging in activities such as socializing in your community, attending doctor or dental appointments, or taking your child for their well-child visits. Due to the pandemic, tens of thousands of Tennessee’s children are late getting their vaccines, leaving them vulnerable to catching and spreading preventable infections. Childhood immunizations protect against highly infectious diseases like measles, bacterial meningitis, chicken pox and whooping cough among others.
As the current school year comes to and end many families are preparing to enroll their child for a new school year, and some may be preparing to enter into kindergarten or seventh grade. Certain childhood immunizations are required for kindergarten and seventh grade registration, and teens need vaccines against bacterial meningitis as well as the human papilloma virus, which causes several types of cancer. If you have a child under the age of six or age 11 or older, they may be behind on their routine immunizations. Don’t delay in getting them caught up!
While the focus has been on fighting COVID-19, it’s important to remember that maintaining routine appointments with your child’s doctor will help your child stay healthy and possibly identify any underlying health conditions that may make your child more vulnerable to COVID-19. As more and more Tennesseans are vaccinated against COVID-19 it is important to not lose sight of the other steps we can take to protect ourselves, our loved ones, and others in the community against preventable diseases.
If you aren’t sure if your child is missing some of their routine immunizations, call your child’s medical provider or your local health department to check on the status. If your child is behind, schedule an appointment with your child’s doctor or your local health department NOW to make sure your child is fully protected. For more information on required childhood immunizations visit https://www.tn.gov/health/cedep/immunization-program/ip/immunization-requirements.html.