Take the time to catch up on vaccination during National Immunization Awareness Month

Your family may have held off on scheduling well-child visits and recommended vaccines during the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s understandable you might have felt hesitant to take your child in for an appointment. We want you to know that health care providers are taking necessary precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.  

Bandage in the shape of heart, smaller bandage in front. “Vaccine preventable diseases are still a threat. Vaccination is the best protection.

As your children head back to school this fall, it’s important to make sure they get caught up on any immunizations and well-child visits that they may have missed. August is National Immunization Awareness Month which makes it a good time to talk with your child’s health care provider about what vaccines your child needs to stay healthy this school year.  

The immunization schedule is designed to provide immunity early in life, before children are likely to be exposed to serious, potentially life-threatening diseases. Some vaccines require more than one dose to provide your child with the best protection. Each recommended dose is important to gain full protection.  

As a parent or guardian, another way you can help protect your children is to get the COVID-19 vaccine. You may be able to schedule your own vaccination at the same time as your child’s visit. Children 12 or older can also get their COVID-19 vaccines at the same time as other vaccines. If you have questions about COVID-19 vaccination for your children or yourself, your health care provider can answer them.  

The Vaccines for Children (VFC) program offers free vaccines to families who cannot afford to pay for their children’s vaccines. Call 211 to find out more about VFC.  

You can learn more about routine vaccination by visiting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Growing Up with Vaccines interactive guide, which provides information on the vaccines recommended during pregnancy, throughout childhood, and into adulthood.  

Find out more about COVID-19 vaccination on OHA’s COVID-19 Vaccine webpage.  

If your children need health insurance, they may be eligible for the Oregon Health Plan (OHP). It is open to all children and teens younger than 19, regardless of immigration status, who meet income and other criteria. Trained community partners across the state can help you fill out an application. Visit http://www.OHP.Oregon.gov to find community partners in your area.  

This article first appeared in the Aug. 4, 2021 issue of Oregon Coronavirus Update.