• 86°

A reminder to get your recommended vaccines

August is National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM). This annual observance highlights the importance of getting recommended vaccines throughout your life. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all aspects of life, including your ability to attend important appointments and receive routine vaccinations.

As a parent, you want to keep you children safe. Routine, timely, child vaccinations are one way to do that. As your children head back to school this fall, it’s particularly important for you to work with your child’s doctor to make sure they are caught up on their vaccines. Vaccines help protect your child and community against serious diseases, like measles and whooping cough. COVID-19 disrupted both in-person learning and routine well-child visits for many children over the past year. CDC public sector vaccine ordering data show a 14% drop in 2020-2021 compared to 2019, and measles vaccine ordering is down by more than 20%. Beaufort County Health Department encourages parents/guardians to make sure your children are up to date on routinely recommended vaccines. Well-child visits and check-ups are essential for routine vaccination, even during the pandemic.

If you want to learn more about your child’s immunization scheduled you can review the “2021 CDC Recommended Immunization Schedule”, which can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/hcp/imz/child-adolescent.html. If you’re pregnant, now is a great time to find a doctor for your baby and schedule a visit to discuss any questions or concerns you have about vaccines.

August is also a critical time for those who are eligible to get vaccinated against COVID-19. COVID-19 vaccine helps prevent severe illness, hospitalizations, and death. Unvaccinated people should get vaccinated and until they are fully vaccinated, continue to wear a mask. With the Delta variant, this is more urgent than ever. By the end of July 2021, Delta variant was the cause for more than 80% of new U.S. COVID-19 cases. Delta has been shown to be about 50% more contagious than the original variant, therefore making it more dangerous. In an unmitigated environment, where no one is vaccinated or wearing masks, it’s estimated that the average person infected with the original coronavirus will infect 2.5 other people. In that same environment, the Delta strain would spread from one person to maybe 3.5 or 4 other people.

Have questions about the vaccine or COVID-19? Want to get your questions answered? Beaufort County Health Department is partnering with Healthy Communities, Clergy, and Congregations to provide community lunch n’ learns, called “Eating with the Experts” (lunch provided). All events are taking place on Wednesdays from 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. at the following locations: Aug. 4 – Snowden Elementary (Aurora); Aug. 11 – Chocowinity Middle School (Chocowinity); Aug. 18 – Wilkinson Center (Belhaven); Aug. 25 – St. Johns Church of Christ (Washington); and Sept. 1 – Temple of Jesus Christ (Washington).

Interested in receiving the vaccine? Beaufort County Health Department currently offers the J&J, Pfizer, and Moderna vaccine through our drive thru clinic. To make an appointment you can call 252-940-6150 or visit www.bchd.net.

JaNell Octigan, MPH is Human Services Planner and Preparedness Coordinator for the Beaufort County Public Health Department and can be reached by calling 252-940-5090.