Skip to main content

Military Health System

CDC maintains childhood immunization guidelines during COVID-19

Image of A child receives a vaccine during a visit to the clinic. U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Tamika Bradley, 20th Medical Operations Squadron allergy and immunizations technician, prepares to administer a vaccine to a child at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C. National Infant Immunization Week is April 25 - May 2, 2020. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Destinee Dougherty)

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response | Immunization Healthcare Division | Vaccine-Preventable Diseases

Immunizations remain a vital component of pediatric health care, even during the COVID19 pandemic. Immune systems are still developing in children and infants. Vaccinations result in the production of antibodies to protect people from potentially deadly diseases, explained Ann M. Morse, a family nurse practitioner at the North-Atlantic Regional Vaccine Safety Hub, Naval Medical Center Portsmouth.

“Immunizations allow the immune system to recognize that germ, virus, or bacteria and fight off that disease, or limit the severity of complications if exposed to the real disease,” continued Morse.

Immunizations also protect public health through herd immunity by preventing a widespread outbreak of highly infectious diseases, like measles or whooping cough. Despite the current climate of social distancing, vaccine-preventable diseases continue to circulate. Individuals who have not been vaccinated and contract the disease could spread it to susceptible individuals because those infected can be contagious up to a week before developing any symptoms, explained Morse. She added that if children stop receiving necessary vaccinations, herd immunity decreases, increasing the likelihood of other potential viral outbreaks, like measles.

“If multiple individuals developed one or more different vaccine-preventable diseases, hospitals could again have decreased number of isolation rooms, critical care (ICU/CCU) beds, ventilators, protective coverings (masks, gowns, gloves, boots) and more,” Morse explained. She added there are a variety of infant or childhood respiratory illnesses that show similar symptoms of COVID-19, such as fever, cough, and body aches.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to encourage childhood immunizations during the COVID-19 crisis, but recently updated its recommendations for health care providers to manage patient visits. The way health care providers schedule immunization appointments may vary according to social distancing standards, said Morse. It is also possible that depending on the influx of COVID-19 cases in a local community, some health care providers may not schedule in-person wellness visits, but will continue to offer immunizations, noted Air Force preventive medicine physician Lt. Col. (Dr.) Ruth Brenner, deputy chief of the Immunization Healthcare Division.

“Due to the pandemic, there is a strain on medical resources, so some clinics may not be able to support a full complement of immunization services or at the same location where immunizations may normally be received. I recommend contacting your primary care manager or clinic to ask what is available as well as community options,” Brenner said.

As a mother of young children, Brenner has had to navigate the medical system for important immunizations during the COVID-19 pandemic with the help of the Pediatric Clinic at her military treatment facility. For parents who choose not to immunize their children during the pandemic, there are "catch up" schedules provided by the CDC so that children don’t need to start over or repeat doses already received, explained Brenner. Many child care centers are allowing a grace period for childhood immunizations at this time, she noted.

“Each family should balance the risks and benefits before going to the clinic,” she said, adding that MTFs are adhering to CDC recommendations of social distancing and separating sick children from well children.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the strain on health care systems is obvious, said Brenner, adding, “Pediatric immunizations remain an important aspect of the health of our children and our communities. Military treatment facilities are working hard to continue to offer pediatric immunizations during the current health crisis.”

Morse said military families should call their clinics to arrange times for their visit and ask about precautions they will need to follow upon entering the facility, such as wearing a face mask. “It will be important to ask about normal vaccine side effects and take home the vaccine information sheets,” she said.

Concerned parents can also call the IHD’s 24/7 Immunization Healthcare Support Center at 877-438-8222 and select option 1 to speak with an on-call nurse or provider.

You also may be interested in...

NMHM looks back at the 1918 ‘Spanish flu’ for one Maryland county

Article
8/19/2020
Black and white image of hospital beds lined up in rows, occupied by sick people

The 1918 flu resembled a more severe cold.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response | Public Health | National Museum of Health and Medicine

DHA proves power of collaboration in medical IT war games

Article
8/18/2020
Men and women in room sitting in front of their laptops

Open-source EHR proves worth in Coalition Warrior Interoperability Exercise

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response | Health Care Technology

BAMC expands use of ECMO to treat severe COVID-19 patients

Article
8/18/2020
Medical personnel wearing masks, looking at paperwork on desk

This treatment...is used in the intensive care unit when a patient experiences heart and/or lung failure.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response

Air Force medics ‘go mobile’ to continue serving during COVID-19

Article
8/17/2020
Medical personnel wearing a mask, looking at a vial

With the outbreak of COVID-19, the 90th Medical Respiratory Clinic was created and designed to focus on patient care and safety.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response

Military Health System experts discuss COVID-19 innovations

Article
7/30/2020
Four men wearing masks, holding COVID-19 Airway Management Isolation Chamber

How quick thinking and new approaches are saving lives in the pandemic fight.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response

Military Medicine Joining Forces to Fight COVID-19 All Around the World

Article
7/17/2020
A group of military personnel posing for a picture

Multiple commands from the Navy and Air Force responded to the request with personnel from all over the country.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response | Health Readiness & Combat Support

Innovative RX pad creates path for prescribing mobile health technology

Article
7/15/2020

Technology and healthcare are constantly evolving fields.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response | Public Health

U.S. Naval Hospital Guam Collects Convalescent Plasma from Sailors

Article
7/2/2020
Technician takes notes next to convalescent plasma samples.

The CCP is the liquid part of blood from patients who have recovered from an infection.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response | Coronavirus & the MHS Response

How the military stays ready during disease outbreaks

Article
6/29/2020
Headshot of Dr. Sanchez

A Q&A with a health surveillance professional at Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch

Recommended Content:

Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division | Coronavirus & the MHS Response

Defending the Homeland: A Determined Descendant and a Navy Hospital's Response to COVID-19

Article
6/9/2020
Image of Navy captain, wearing a mask, standing next to a piece of paper on the wall

Althoff and her team at the Quality Management directorate serve as a locus of coordination for clinical support operations.

Recommended Content:

Public Health | Coronavirus & the MHS Response | Coronavirus & the MHS Response

DOD Establishes Collaborative Virus Genetic Sequencing Capability for COVID-19

Article
6/5/2020
Image of two scientists in masks looking at a computer monitor

COVID-19 sequencing process will provide military commanders and other DOD leadership with critical information to guide force health protection decision-making.

Recommended Content:

Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division | Coronavirus & the MHS Response | Global Emerging Infections Surveillance

Defending the Homeland: Putting talent to work

Article
6/5/2020
Three military personnel wearing masks

One seamstress took it upon herself to create face coverings for her colleagues.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response

COVID-19: Lifestyle Tips to Stay Healthy

Article
5/22/2020
Eating right, physical activity, adequate rest and taking care of our mental health not only improves overall health and wellness, but also makes us more resilient during COVID-19.

As we move toward a third year of the COVID-19 pandemic, the virus has changed many of our daily routines in ways no one anticipated and that have become the new normal.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response | Health Readiness & Combat Support | Total Force Fitness
<< < ... 11 12 13 14 > >> 
Showing results 196 - 208 Page 14 of 14
Refine your search
Last Updated: July 09, 2021
Follow us on Instagram Follow us on LinkedIn Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on YouTube Sign up on GovDelivery