Vaccination and children, what to do in times of Covid-19

Vaccination and children, what to do in times of Covid-19

The pandemic situation is creating slowdowns and delays in vaccinations in children. There are specific periods within which vaccines are effective for protection against different viruses and bacteria

The Covid-19 pandemic is having, among many side effects, also a negative impact on the prevention of childhood diseases that can be prevented with vaccination. This was reported by the Italian Society of Pediatrics, which noted a slowdown with a consequent "delay" especially in vaccine boosters, compared to the times proposed in the National Vaccination Plan and in the Calendar for Life. However, it is important to respect the indications of the Ministry of Health and Scientific Societies, because there is an ideal time for protection against the various viruses and bacteria that can attack the child. An example? Meningococcal B infection is more frequent in the first year of life and prevention must therefore be done in time. To recall the indications of science, here is the opinion of Susanna Esposito, Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Parma and Director of the Pediatric Clinic at the University Hospital of the Emilian city.

The safety of vaccination services

In the era of Covid-19, the facilities organized themselves to offer protected routes, avoiding the possible overlap of people in the waiting room and at the time of vaccination through targeted appointments and thus reducing the possible risks. "We must always remember that vaccinations have changed the history of pediatrics, reducing the burden in terms of mortality and the health consequences of many infectious diseases, so they are an achievement that must be safeguarded in terms of children's health", comments Dr. Esposito. "However, in order to obtain maximum protective efficacy, it is essential that the immunization cycles begin at the right time based on the epidemiology of the infections and above all that they are complete, that is, they also include so-called" calls "according to the indications. At this stage, with the Covid-19 pandemic, many fears have emerged that are understandable, even considering that there is fear of exposing very young children to a possible Sars-CoV-2 infection in the health sector. But mothers can be quiet. Vaccinations are carried out in facilities dedicated to people without acute pathologies in progress, where you enter with the mask, you pay attention to spacing and isolation and the environments are perfectly and continuously sanitized ". In short: there are safe routes for parents and children in vaccination centers. If we must be careful that the fears of Covid-19 do not become a negative boomerang for the health of babies. "Failure to comply with the normal vaccination cycles, with the first immunization and subsequent boosters, means exposing your own and other children to a much higher risk than that of the same Sars-CoV-2 infection," the expert continues. "Just think of measles, which in some areas is raising its head again following a drop in vaccination coverage that has led to the formation of" clusters "of some cases that should still be avoided".

Protect the mother to preserve the baby to come

If it is important for newborns to "open" and "close" vaccination cycles correctly, the woman should always remember that the prevention of infectious diseases for the child should already begin before his birth, in that "1000 days" path that characterize the period from the beginning of pregnancy to the first years of life. Which means paying attention to vaccinations during pregnancy. Do you want an example? Think about whooping cough. The website of the Ministry of Health recalls that “whooping cough, if contracted by a child in the first months of life, can be very serious and even fatal. The source of infection is frequently the mother, and the protection passively conferred by mothers infected with the pertussis bacterium or vaccinated many years before pregnancy is labile and inconstant ”. "Even pregnant women may have understandable fears in this period of Covid-19, but it is better to get used to going out once more if the appointment is for a vaccination that can protect her baby" concludes Dr. Esposito. “Whooping cough in the first months of life can also be very serious and unfortunately even be fatal. Vaccination of the mother in the last period of gestation offers the baby antibodies that pass through the placenta, protecting it in case of contact with the microorganism responsible for the infection at the beginning of its life ". In short: vaccinating the mother in the last weeks of pregnancy allows the passive transfer of antibodies capable of protecting the newborn until the development of active protection through the vaccination of the child, starting from the third month of life. Let's keep this in mind.

With the contribution of Adn Kronos

Category: Health
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