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...

Medical Leaders Address COVID-19 Concerns During Family Forum

Article
1/21/2022
Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Jemuel Macabali, from San Diego, Calif., gives the COVID-19 vaccine to staff at Camp Lemonnier, in Djibouti, Aug. 13, 2021.

Top health leaders talk about the recent spike in COVID-19 infections and the impact on the military community.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response

Critically ill COVID Patient Delivers Baby While on Heart-Lung Bypass

Article
1/11/2022
Retired U.S. Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. Carlos Hernandez and his wife, Ashley, take a family portrait with their six children. Ashley is BAMC’s first patient to give birth while on Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation.

Hernandez, a Marine Corps spouse and mother of five, is BAMC’s first patient to give birth while on Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation.

Recommended Content:

Women's Health | Coronavirus & the MHS Response

Development of WRAIR’s Pan-Coronavirus Vaccine Shows Promise

Article
12/28/2021
A vial of spike ferritin nanoparticle WRAIR's COVID-19 vaccine

Series of preclinical studies supports the Army’s pan-coronavirus vaccine development strategy

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Coronavirus & the MHS Response | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

Immunization Experts are Central to COVID-19 Vaccine Program

Article
12/20/2021
Medical director at Fort Riley, Kansas receives a COVID-19 vaccination In his left arm from a tech in personal protective equipment.

Immunization Health Division at forefront of COVID-19 vaccinations.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine

Military Health System Marks 1-Year Anniversary for COVID Vaccinations

Article
12/14/2021
FEmale Marine gets COVID 19 vaccination in left  arm at Camp LeJeune in December 2020

More than 6.4 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered a year after first shots within MHS.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine

Army Recovery Care Coordinator Guides Veterans, Caregivers in Recovery

Article
11/12/2021
Recovery Care Coordinator

A warrior care coordinator shares how she supports recovering service members, their families and caregivers.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | IHD COVID-19 Vaccine Resource Center for Health Care Personnel | Immunization Healthcare Division

MHS Reaches 6 Million Doses of Vaccine Against COVID

Article
11/10/2021
Airmen of the 139th Airlift Wing, Missouri Air National Guard, receive COVID-19 immunizations as a part of the federal mandate at Rosecrans Air National Guard Base, St. Joseph, Missouri, Oct. 2, 2021. The 139th Medical Group oversees the operation. .

Military passes 6 million mark for COVID-19 shots administered across the Military Health System.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Coronavirus & the MHS Response | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | COVID-19 Information for Military Treatment Facility Directors

COVID 19 Vaccine Is Now Available for Children 5 to 11

Article
11/9/2021
5-year-old girl in mask reads a book by herself

COVID-19 vaccines for 5-11 year olds are ready now through MHS

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

More Than 95% of Active Duty Have Received COVID-19 Vaccine

Article
10/15/2021
Female hospital corpsman gives a COVID-19 vaccine injection to a sailor in her left arm

Service members continue to line up for COVID-19 vaccinations.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Coronavirus & the MHS Response | COVID-19 Information for Military Treatment Facility Directors

Mask Mouth Does Not Exist, Dentists Say

Article
10/6/2021
A bunch of children wearing face masks walk on a city street.

Mask mouth doesn’t exist, Internet chatter to the contrary, dentists say.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Coronavirus & the MHS Response

COVID-19 Booster Shots are Now Available – What You Need to Know

Article
9/30/2021
Containers of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. Each vial contains six doses for vaccination against the COVID-19 virus.

Booster shots are now recommended for millions of people – but many others will have to wait for additional approvals.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Coronavirus & the MHS Response | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

Myths & facts about the vax - debunking common COVID-19 vaccine myths

Article
9/29/2021
Myths and facts about the vax

The COVID-19 vaccine has been mandated across the Department of Defense and despite its demonstrated effectiveness and safety, a host of myths have left some Airmen and Guardians hesitant to receive it. While social media posts and some news outlets may make it harder to keep up with what is fact or fiction, the science is clear … approved COVID-19 vaccines work.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Coronavirus & the MHS Response | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

DODEA Schools Keeps On With In-Person Classes, and Fall Sports, Too

Article
9/23/2021
Kids playing football

DODEA schools are striving to continue in-person learning in the 2021-22 school year.

Recommended Content:

Children's Health | Coronavirus & the MHS Response

The COVID-19 Pandemic: How Health Care Workers are Coping

Article
9/13/2021
a nurse helping a COVID-19 patient

For health care providers, experiencing the pandemic inside a hospital has brought

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response | Podcasts

Increased COVID Restrictions on the Pentagon Reservation

Article
9/8/2021
Military personnel wearing a face mask

Due to the increase in COVID-19 cases and positive test cases in the National Capital Region, the Pentagon Reservation will move to Health Protection Condition Bravo Plus (Bravo+)

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Coronavirus & the MHS Response
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 31 - 45 Page 3 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