As Nebraska moves through an uncertain school year, there is one aspect that should remain consistent with year’s past: Ensuring children receive their immunizations.

Vaccines are crucial to protect children from preventable diseases, even if they are not attending in-person classes.

“It is important that children receive their scheduled immunizations, and that they get the well-child health maintenance visits where immunizations are usually given, even during this period of reduced social contact,” said Dr. William McDonnell, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska (BCBSNE) medical director. “We still face risks of outbreaks of other highly contagious illness, such as measles and whooping cough, like we’ve seen during the past few years.”

Additionally, skipping this year’s vaccinations can cause a negative ripple effect.

“Some immunizations must be given multiple times at particular intervals in order to be properly effective,” said McDonnell. “Skipping some immunizations can disrupt an entire series of immunizations into the future.”

Routine immunizations are not the only important vaccines to stay up to date on.

“Many doctors believe that immunizations, especially flu shots, are even more important than usual this year,” said McDonnell. “When people skip their immunizations, such as their annual flu shot, they are more likely to get sick, which means they are more likely to need to use our health care system that is already overburdened with the COVID-19 pandemic.”

McDonnell advises people to get their flu shot in either September or October, so they are protected before flu season arrives.

“Approved immunizations, including flu shots, have been extensively tested and are as safe or safer than nearly any other kind of medical care,” he said. “They save more lives than any other treatment.”

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