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Should Routine Immunizations Continue During COVID-19 Pandemic?

A common question I have received from parents is whether or not we should continue routine immunizations for children. COVID-19 is spread by close personal contact or by touching contaminated surfaces. Public health has suggested that people stay at home to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.  This includes limiting non-essential doctors appointments.

Majority of non-urgent routine medical care is now being completed using telehealth via phone or online to reduce the risk for both patients and health care professionals. Elective surgeries and procedures have also been postponed for the time being. But what about routine immunizations for infants and children?

The Canadian Paediatric Society recommends  “routine immunizations for children should be kept up to date because any delay or omission in scheduled vaccines puts children at risk for common and serious childhood infections, such as pneumococcal disease, measles, and pertussis.”

There are also recommended precautions that medical offices and public health clinics should follow.  These include: limiting interpersonal exposures, maintaining social distance of at least 2 meters apart in the waiting room and to have alcohol hand rub constantly available. It is also recommended that the number of people accompanying the patient to the visit should be at a minimum. 

If you have any questions about your child’s vaccination schedule during COVID-19, contact your physician or public health centre to receive up to date information and recommendations.

This post was co-authored by Stephanie Liu, MD, MSc, CCFP, BHSc and Erin Manchuk, BScPharm, BCGP .

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