Vaccines Are Too Important to Forget
This post is sponsored by GSK, but all opinions are heartfelt and my own.
I’m not going to lie, this pandemic is kicking my butt. There are days when I can barely remember to brush my teeth, and it’s only gotten worse with online schooling. I’m having a hard time remembering what my normal schedule is. I do know that, normally, I do my kids’ annual doctor’s exams in June. That way I don’t have to fight to get that one available after-school appointment a week, and I get caught up on all their vaccines for the next school year. Plus, since we don’t have to rush home for homework, we can go out for ice cream after!
But this year, when I thought about making the appointment, the doctor’s office wasn’t taking routine in-person visits. Then, by the time they were, I had forgotten all about it. So, when my younger son was ready to start school, we still hadn’t gone. I know I’m not alone in this. Many parents have delayed getting routine vaccines this year, and many doctors are worried.¹
¹ Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Routine Pediatric Vaccine Ordering and Administration. 2020; 69(19);591-593. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6919e2.htm Reviewed May 14, 2020. Accessed November 2020.
Vaccines are just too important to skip. In addition to a flu shot and other routine vaccines, there’s also a vaccination for Meningitis B to consider. As the mom of a 20-year-old son, I’m concerned about Meningitis B, an uncommon but potentially serious disease. Teens and young adults have higher rates of Meningitis B due to certain common behaviors such as living in close quarters like college dormitories, coughing, sneezing, kissing, and sharing drinks, utensils, or smoking devices. Meningitis B can be fatal (one in ten people who get it will die and up to 1 in 5 can have serious long-lasting effects). However, even though it has been available since 2014, recent CDC data show that still, only about one in five 17-year-olds in the US received at least one dose of MenB vaccination in 2019.² This isn’t surprising as a recent online survey by GSK/IPSOS shows that only 32% of 1500 parents surveyed knew that two different types of vaccines are needed to help protect against the most common types of meningitis (one type for A,C,W, and Y; and a different type for B).³
² National, Regional, State, and Selected Local Area Vaccination Coverage Among Adolescents Aged 13–17 Years — United States, 2019. 2020; 69(33). Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/pdfs/mm6933-H.pdf. Reviewed August 21, 2020. Accessed November 2020.
³ Findings of Ipsos survey conducted in the United States during the months of February and March 2020. The survey included 1,500 parents of teens/young adults age 16-23. Funding for the survey was provided by GSK.
There’s so much going on right now with health, and the way we’ve come to talk about health decisions has gotten so political, that it’s hard for parents to know what to do to help protect their kids. But, the survey did show that if parents heard about Meningitis B vaccines, they’re more likely to get one for their teenager.⁵ So, I want to make sure that you’ve heard of it. You can learn more about this potentially deadly illness here: www.meningitisb.com.
Manual for the Surveillance of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases: Chapter 8: Meningococcal Disease. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/surv-manual/chpt08-mening.html. Reviewed December 2019. Accessed November 2020.
I know with a lot of kids going to school online things like vaccines may seem less important, but they are still incredibly important. If you aren’t up-to-date on your child’s vaccines, please consider calling your child’s doctor today to discuss.
Vaccination may not protect all recipients.