Is the Pandemic Putting Your Baby’s Vaccines on Hold? Here’s What You Need to Know | Inquirer Lifestyle
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Is the Pandemic Putting Your Baby’s Vaccines on Hold? Here’s What You Need to Know

It goes without saying: Being a parent is definitely among the most important and fulfilling roles an adult could take on—but it can also be among the most challenging. Parenthood is a station in life that comes with rewards and responsibilities, alike. And, among the foremost goals of any parent is to protect their children, at whatever cost. Moms and Dads will go that extra mile; they will make that extra sacrifice to provide and care for their kids in the best possible way they can.

Now, amidst these turbulent times, this commitment is fiercer and more solid than ever: as a parent, you want to keep your child safe and close to you, always; far from the dangers that lurk in a pandemic-gripped world. That desire is completely understandable, given the many uncertainties of today’s landscape. However, the end may not always justify the means—especially when it comes to your child’s vaccinations. In wanting to keep your child safe and sound, you may actually, unwittingly, be doing more harm than good.

To go, or not to go? That is the question

The scenario is likely one you are familiar with, as a parent of an infant, toddler, or young child. You have always been on track with your kid’s vaccination schedule, never missing a visit to the doctor’s clinic when the time came for immunization. Enter, COVID-19, and all of a sudden, your timetable has been turned topsy-turvy, especially during the lockdown. Questions plague your mind: “Now that the lockdown has eased, is it safe to bring my child out for a vaccination? Would it be better if I kept them home, for now? Should I risk going to the doctor’s clinic?” You go back and forth in your mind, and eventually convince yourself that missing out on scheduled vaccinations is the right choice—or, so you think it is.Because, anyway, your young one is just at home and, therefore, safe from disease, right? To answer this question correctly, however, you must understand a little bit more about your child’s immunity and the role that vaccines play.

Building blocks of immunity

Herein lies a foundational truth of health: a healthy life is developed from infancy. Your child needs all the help he or she can get, especially at this most vulnerable stage. A baby’s immunity must be strengthened from birth, and there are things you can do to aid the process. Breastfeeding, providing adequate nutrition, and giving the nurturing care your baby needs (“pag-aaruga,” as Filipinos like to call it) are among the building blocks of a child’s immunity. You likely already knew that. But did you know that vaccines are a vital building block, as well?

Vaccinations provide your baby’s body with trace amounts of antigens; substances which help stimulate the immunity and produce antibodies to fight diseases. While there is, as of yet, no vaccine against the current pandemic, there are numerous other sicknesses from which you can (and should) protect your child. Polio, tetanus, diphtheria, measles, pertussis or whooping cough, pneumococcal disease, rotavirus diarrhea mumps, and chickenpox are among the serious, highly-contagious illnesses that are preventable by vaccination. Don’t let fear put your child’s health at risk, especially during this pandemic.

Kaya, i-una ang bakuna

There’s no two ways about it: vaccination saves lives. Moreover, immunization is best done on schedule for the vaccine to be most effective in safeguarding your child against disease. Regularly scheduled, well-child doctor’s visits are essential to your kid’s wellbeing, as pointed out by authoritative bodies like the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

However, the CDC notes that in the US, there has been a pandemic-related drop in vaccinations for preventable diseases, increasing the potential of community outbreaks of these sicknesses. Alarmingly, and in a similar vein, UNICEF says that as many as two million Filipino children may forgo their necessary vaccinations this year, given the pandemic.

Imagine the consequences of delaying or missing out on vaccines, especially on such a large scale. Now that the lockdown has eased and people can go out again with precautions, it’s best for you and your baby to catch up on any missed vaccines. —“Kaya, i-una ang bakuna” should be a motto all parents adopt.

Yet, as vital as vaccines are, it is also important for you, as parents, to be confident, safe, and secure when getting your child vaccinated. Here’s a checklist, for your peace of mind, and your baby’s protection:

  • Talk to your child’s pediatrician. Discuss your fears and concerns about bringing your child for vaccination. Remember, your baby’s pediatrician is your advocate in your precious one’s health. He or she will surely be able to provide you with useful tips for a safe visit.
  • Find out if the clinic offers different days or schedules for sick-child and well-child visits, to further put your mind at ease.
  • Make the appointments beforehand. Most clinics operate on an “appointment-only” basis, these days. Provide all the information needed in response to health screening and COVID policies. Be accurate and honest; help your doctor’s clinic help you and other patients to stay safe.
  • On the days leading up to your visit, boost your resistance, as well as that of your child. Get enough sleep, eat healthily, and take your vitamins and supplements.
  • Make the most of your visit. Make a checklist of questions and matters you would like to discuss with your child’s doctor.
  • On the day of your visit, make sure you have everything you need. Wear the appropriate protective equipment. Keep your sanitizers and wipes within reach. Don’t forget your baby’s record book, to help you keep track of your visit and corresponding vaccines.
  • Clinics and hospitals operate under strict “new normal” protocols for your safety. Be on time for your appointment, so that you avoid waiting inside the clinic longer than you have to. You can rest assured, though, that the number of patients per day will surely be limited, with time in between for sanitation of the premises, as mandated by health authorities.
  • Observe government-mandated protocols, on the local and national levels. These are in place for your safety throughout the pandemic.
  • Follow all guidelines while in the clinic. Observe social distancing measures and hygiene practices that are in place at the clinic.

Well-meaning, and well-guided

Now, more than ever, it is of utmost importance not only for parents to be well-meaning, but also well-guided. Vaccination saves lives and boosts your child’s immunity. But these benefits will only be available to your child if they, in fact, get the vaccine—and that falls on your shoulders. Kaya, i-una ang bakuna, Moms and Dads. Ask your pediatrician about disease prevention, today. You can rest easy, knowing that with the right information and the right safety protocols, you can carry the responsibility of parenthood, in the new normal and beyond.

Consult with your physician for more information on this matter.

The information displayed on this webpage is intended for Philippine audiences only and is not designed to replace your healthcare professional’s advice

NP-PH-ABX-ADVR-200005| November 2020.

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