Should Mothers Delay Vaccination for Children During the Covid-19 Outbreak?

The article is professionally consulted by Dr. Quach Nguyen Thu Thuy, MD - Pediatrics Specialist at Vinmec Times City International Hospital.

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During the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, many parents are unsure whether to take their children to the hospital for vaccination or not. Which vaccines can be delayed and which ones cannot?

According to the recommendations of medical experts, even during a pandemic, parents should still take their children for vaccination on schedule. Delaying vaccinations can increase the risk of contracting diseases that have been eliminated or make infectious diseases like influenza, measles, mumps, sore throat, pneumonia, etc., more severe and difficult to treat.

In the current situation, timely and proper vaccination is very important to prevent diseases that have been vaccinated against and to avoid confusion with other diseases. If a child has a cough or fever during this time, parents will be very worried and unsure whether these symptoms are due to Covid-19 or another illness because some symptoms of Covid-19 are similar to flu or other respiratory diseases.

During the first 5 years of a child’s life, their immune system is still developing, so complete immunization is an effective way to enhance their immunity. Parents should follow the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Ministry of Health, such as wearing masks correctly and washing hands frequently with hand sanitizers. Parents should also stay updated on accurate information about Covid-19 to protect themselves and their families from the Corona virus.

In areas without outbreaks, mothers can still take their children for vaccinations according to appropriate immunization schedules, but they should avoid crowded places and make appointments in advance to avoid waiting and visit trusted healthcare facilities.

2. Vaccines that cannot be delayed

These include 4 types of vaccines that mothers must have their children vaccinated for their health:

  • Hepatitis B vaccine: After the child is born, the first dose of the hepatitis B vaccine is administered to them.
  • BCG vaccination: When the child is 28 days old, they will be vaccinated with the BCG vaccine to prevent tuberculosis.

In addition, there are two types of rabies vaccines and tetanus toxoid vaccines that need to be administered on schedule because these two vaccines cannot be delayed.

Of course, if a child has a history of contact with suspected or confirmed Covid-19 cases, you should isolate the child for 14 days. During this 14-day period, if the child has a fever, you should stop vaccination.

3. Vaccines that can be temporarily delayed
Due to the current situation, to avoid the risk of cross-infection, mothers should not take their children to crowded places and may postpone immunization for some types of vaccines.
AC meningococcal vaccine: Meningitis caused by meningococcal bacteria can be temporarily postponed because there is currently no outbreak and according to the 3-year rule, there is an outbreak once every 3 years. Children start to receive this vaccine at the age of 2 and it is repeated every 3 years.
Diphtheria: This disease is transmitted through food and drink. If proper hygiene is maintained, such as eating cooked food and drinking clean water, it is possible to limit this disease. This vaccine is repeated every 3 years.
Hepatitis A vaccine: This disease is transmitted through food and drink, so it can be temporarily postponed during this period.
HPV vaccine: The ideal age for cervical cancer prevention vaccine is from 9 to 13 years old. Therefore, temporary postponement during this period does not affect the child.
If parents are not sure about which vaccines can be postponed, they should consult the health department or local disease prevention centers.

4. Precautions when taking your baby for vaccinations during the Covid-19 outbreak

  • Before vaccination, measure your baby’s body temperature and assess the health of the members who will accompany the child for vaccination.
  • When taking your child for vaccination, try to avoid public transportation and use a private car if possible. Wear a mask throughout the vaccination process.
  • After vaccination, keep your baby in a clean area of the vaccination center for 30 minutes.
  • Do not bathe the child within 24 hours after vaccination and pay attention to the injection site. If the injection site becomes swollen, you should take the child to a healthcare facility for examination.

After vaccination, a child may develop a fever. Parents can use fever-reducing medication for the child. If the fever does not subside, you should take the child to the hospital promptly.

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