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Office Visit: Protecting Your Children From Preventable Diseases

By Todd Hoffman, M.D.
Note: This article appeared as a guest column in the Journal Record 

Just about all of us had our routines altered in some form or fashion after emerging from the recent pandemic.

For some children, that included missing out on their regular wellness check-ups and recommended vaccinations as child immunization rates dropped significantly. Fortunately, that trend has begun to reverse itself. The CDC and American Academy of Pediatrics recommend children catch up on routine childhood vaccinations and get back on track for school, childcare and beyond.

August is National Immunization Awareness Month, and it’s important to be aware the value vaccines bring to a child’s health and wellbeing.

Vaccines protect against diseases and germs. Keeping up regular immunizations helps the body’s immune system fight against germs, which are present in the food, air and anything your child puts in their mouth.

Immunizations have also helped save lives. Polio is one of the best examples of a disease that once caused paralysis and even death to many children in the United States. But, primarily due to safe and effective vaccines, the threat of polio is now virtually extinct in our country.

BCBSIL CMO Dr. Todd Hoffman

Todd Hoffman, M.D.

Staying on a regular immunization schedule can help both you and your loved ones. Some babies maybe too young to be vaccinated and others may not be able to receive certain vaccinations due to health restrictions. Getting vaccinated helps not only your child but can protect those around them too.

Vaccines can save you time and money as well. Schools or childcare facilities can deny attendance to children with a disease that could have been prevented through vaccine. Taking your chances and not getting vaccinated can also become a financial burden with lost work time, medical bills or long-term disability care should a person come down with a vaccine-preventable disease.

Please make sure your child’s immunization record is up to date as the new school year begins. Check out Oklahoma’s current immunization requirements here and be sure to reach out to your pediatrician with any questions.

Make it a good month!

Todd Hoffman, M.D., C.P.E., is chief medical officer of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma, a division of Health Care Service Corp., a Mutual Legal Reserve Company.

A Division of Health Care Service Corporation, a Mutual Legal Reserve Company, an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association