Don't skip your child's shots during COVID-19

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Families are focused on staying healthy during the pandemic. Pediatric vaccines are an important part of that equation.

Vaccines help protect kids of all ages from serious diseases, including whooping cough and measles. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends children get many of their shots by age 2.

“Despite that recommendation, it seems that fewer kids have been getting their shots during the coronavirus crisis,” says Dr. Holly Cunneen, a board-certified pediatrician at Watson Clinic Highlands in south Lakeland. “The summer season – in the months and weeks prior to returning to school – is an especially opportune time to seek out these childhood vaccines.”

But the situation might soon get more complicated. Should the COVID-19 vaccines be approved for children as young as 12 years old, as anticipated this summer, we face the possibility of a 6-8-week vaccination blackout period during the usual back-to-school vaccination season. Why? Because current CDC guidance suggests that no other vaccines should be provided two weeks before, during, or after the COVID-19 vaccination series.

For this reason, it’s recommended that parents schedule their children’s necessary vaccines as soon as possible.

If you think you may have fallen behind on your child's shots, talk to their doctor. They can fill you in on vaccine recommendations for your child.

Here are some shots that kids of different ages may need.

Infants and toddlers (birth to age 2 years)

• DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis).

• MMR (measles, mumps and rubella).

• Chickenpox.

• Pneumonia.

• Hepatitis A and B.

• Polio.

Preschoolers and school-aged kids (ages 3 to 10)

• DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis).

• MMR (measles, mumps and rubella).

• Chickenpox.

• Polio.

Preteens and teens (ages 11 to 18)

• HPV.

• Meningitis.

• Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis).

Watson Clinic Highlands pediatrician Dr. Holly Cunneen currently offers convenient appointment availability for both new and existing patients. For more information and to schedule an appointment, call 863-607-3346 or visit


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