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Stick to immunization schedule during the COVID-19 pandemic, paediatricians urge

Apr 30, 2020

OTTAWA – This National Immunization Awareness Week, the Canadian Paediatric Society (CPS) is urging parents and health providers to maintain the routine immunization schedule for children and youth across Canada throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Any delay or omission in scheduled vaccines puts children at risk for common and serious childhood infections such as pneumococcal disease, measles, and pertussis.

“Vaccines and clean drinking water have saved more lives than any other health interventions in history,” said Dr. Joan Robinson, author of the CPS position statement on improving childhood immunization rates in Canada. “The last thing we want is to come out of a pandemic and into community outbreaks of serious – and preventable – diseases.”

Each year, National Immunization Awareness Week is a time to recognize the importance of immunizations, which have collectively saved millions of lives. Sadly, this year the COVID-10 pandemic has served as a stark reminder of the health impacts and social disruption a communicable disease without a vaccine or treatment can wreak.

To protect families and health care providers, the CPS recommends:

  • Enhancing infection control protocols in clinics, including pre-screening by telephone
  • Reserving certain times of the day for immunizations
  • Eliminating the waiting room when possible
  • Scheduling follow-ups by phone.
  • Scheduling ‘catch-up’ immunizations for children who have missed a vaccine due to illness or school closure

“Even during this period of physical distancing, children are vulnerable to potentially fatal vaccine-preventable diseases,” said Dr. Robinson, a paediatric infectious diseases expert at the University of Alberta. “Young children can contract meningitis from a healthy older sibling, and tetanus is present in soil.”

Any dip in vaccination rates poses a threat to vulnerable people, including young children and immunocompromised individuals. We urge families to keep scheduled appointments for routine immunizations, and clinicians to continue providing the same.

Additional resources:

Vaccine safety: Canada’s system
Vaccines: Myths and facts
When parents choose not to vaccinate: Risks and responsibilities


About the Canadian Paediatric Society

The Canadian Paediatric Society is a national advocacy association that promotes the health needs of children and youth. Founded in 1922, the CPS represents more than 3,300 paediatricians, paediatric subspecialists and other child health professionals across Canada.

Last updated: Apr 30, 2020

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