If you're like most parents, you've been avoiding the doctor's office for anything but the most essential medical care during the COVID-19 pandemic. We understand your concern, but it's critically important that your child receives their vaccines on schedule to protect them against serious childhood diseases. We're here to help answer some common questions and get you back on track.

Why get caught up now on vaccinations

Mom and child in exam room Ensuring every child receives vaccines for preventable diseases is essential. If a group of babies and young children fall behind on their vaccines, these diseases will have an opportunity to reemerge, causing outbreaks – and potential deaths – in our communities once again.

In April, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family Physicians, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) agreed routine vaccinations should be prioritized for children younger than 2 years of age and should be given to children and teens during annual well visits or during visits for minor illnesses.

Why vaccinations are important for kids and the community

Vaccinations throughout childhood are essential to protect young lives. Vaccines help provide immunity to children before they are exposed to potentially harmful diseases like hepatitis B, measles, mumps, polio and more. All vaccines are extensively tested and approved for use by the CDC.

Researchers at CHOP and around the world have repeatedly proven that vaccines are safe and effective for children and the public. The more people that receive a specific vaccine, the greater likelihood of developing "herd immunity," which protects everyone in the community – even medically vulnerable people who cannot safely receive the vaccine.

What vaccines do kids need?

A typical vaccination schedule for children and teens will include these recommended vaccines for different age groups. Most schools, daycares and colleges require proof of immunizations to attend.

Birth to age 2

  • Hepatitis B
  • Rotavirus
  • Diphtheria, tetanus and acellular pertussis
  • Haemophilus influenzae type b
  • Pneumococcal conjugate
  • Inactivated poliovirus
  • Influenza
  • Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR)
  • Varicella (chickenpox)
  • Hepatitis A

4-6 years old

  • Diphtheria, tetanus and acellular pertussis
  • Inactivated poliovirus
  • Influenza
  • Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR)
  • Varicella (chickenpox)

Teens

  • Tetanus, diphtheria & acellular pertussis (Tdap)
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Meningococcal

Missed a vaccine? Why you should catch up

If your child has missed any of their recommended vaccines – or if you are unsure – talk to your child's pediatrician or healthcare provider as soon as possible. Then, schedule an appointment for your child to receive any on-time or catch up vaccines needed.

Although each vaccine has a recommended schedule for administration, in many cases, you can pick up where you left off or use a "catch up" vaccination schedule to keep your child protected. Children in certain high-risk groups may require an adjusted vaccine schedule. Talk to your child's pediatrician about the best way to resume your child's vaccinations and how to help your family stay on-target in the future.

Worried about returning to a pediatrician's office?

The recent COVID-19 pandemic has made many families fearful and uncertain about returning to their primary care physician or the hospital for care. We understand your concern and want to assure you that we take your family's health seriously.

We have added many safety protocols to our facilities, including: masks for all staff and family members, screening for COVID-19 before every visit, extensive cleaning of our facilities between patient visits, and separating patients confirmed or suspected of having COVID-19 from those who do not.

Learn more about what CHOP is doing to provide care safely and on time while ensuring the ongoing health of your child and our communities at large beyond this current pandemic.

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