Going back to school means getting a medical checkup and often a shot or two.
But if your child has missed one—or more—of her recommended vaccinations, how do you best catch up?
Reasons for Missing Vaccinations
There are many reasons that children may miss out on some or all of their immunizations. These include:
- The child or a caregiver has been ill
- The child's family has moved a lot
- The parents have recently divorced
- A coparenting arrangement has let some things slip
- The child lives with extended family who may not have all their medical information
- Religious reasons
- Questions that caregivers have about vaccines
If your child has missed her shots for any reason, don’t worry. You can get back on track.
Whatever the reason, your pediatrician can help you and your child catch up with an expedited schedule.
“We often see children who’ve missed one or more immunizations,” said Kelly Henchel, M.D., chief of Carilion Clinic’s General Pediatric Clinic. “Whatever the reason, your pediatrician can help you and your child catch up with an expedited schedule.”
“When we see parents in this situation, they often feel guilty,” she added. “But don’t worry about bringing your child in. Your doctor won’t judge you. We all know how difficult it is to be a good parent and to provide everything a child needs just when they need it!”
Knowing Which Vaccines Your Child Needs
The recommended schedule for getting kids vaccinated begins at birth and continues into the late teen years.
As shown in the infographic, these include one or more shots for:
- Hepatitis B
- Diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis
- Chicken pox
- Measles, mumps and rubella
“The recommend timetable for vaccines has been developed to keep your child and other children they see safe,” said Dr. Henchel. “Some parents still worry about the myth linking vaccines to autism, but that myth has been disproved in many studies,” she noted.
“Vaccines don’t impair the immune system—they help kids build up antibodies to disease to make their immune systems even stronger.”
An expedited schedule takes those recommendations into account to make sure your child benefits from those immune-system boosts with every injection.
So if your child has missed a few shots, don’t panic. Your pediatrician has seen it before. The important thing is that you can get caught up.
If your child doesn't have a pediatrician, visit CarilionClinic.org/kids to find one near you.