With schools reopening, make sure kids have their shots

It’s important to make sure children stay on their immunization schedule. Without immunizations, there is a risk of illnesses such as pertussis (whooping cough), hepatitis A and meningitis.

With Louisville-area public schools reopening, many kids may need to catch up on their immunization schedule and get their regular wellness exams.

“It’s very important that everyone is prepared,” said Becky S. Carothers, M.D., pediatrician with Norton Children’s Medical Group – Broadway. “This especially includes making sure your child is up to date on their vaccines.”

With pediatricians reporting that many children scheduled for vaccinations in the U.S. have missed them for COVID-19 pandemic-related reasons, Dr. Carothers reminded parents that it’s important to make sure children stay on their vaccine schedule. Without vaccinations, there is a risk of illnesses such as pertussis (whooping cough), hepatitis A and meningitis.

About 40% of parents said their children missed vaccinations during the pandemic, according to a survey conducted late last year by Blue Cross Blue Shield. The health insurer estimated that up to 9 million kids likely missed routine vaccinations last year.

The lack of vaccination increases the risk of illness and death from preventable diseases. Blue Cross Blue Shield warned that trends could push the United States below Centers for Disease Control and Prevention herd immunity levels for measles, whooping cough and polio.

“Getting your child vaccinated before returning to the classroom not only helps them out, but the entire community,” Dr. Carothers said. “Through herd immunity, children who cannot be vaccinated are more protected. It is not 100% but is the most effective method of stopping diseases.”

Norton Children’s Medical Group

More than 20 pediatrician offices throughout Louisville and surrounding communities.

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Making pediatrician offices safer

Pediatrician offices of Norton Children’s Medical Group, affiliated with the UofL School of Medicine, have taken steps to make visits safer during the coronavirus outbreak. These include:

  • You can avoid the waiting room. Parents can check in via MyNortonChart, and the office will call you and let you know when they are ready for you to come into the building
  • Offices have extra disinfecting procedures for each room after every patient.
  • Providers use separate rooms for sick children and healthy children.
  • Everyone over 2 years old is required to wear a mask.
  • Only one parent can accompany the patient, if possible.

“With the COVID-19 virus still circulating, it is more important than ever to protect your child against these other diseases,” Dr. Carothers said. “With these extra precautions in place, we want parents to feel confident about bringing their child into the office.”