Pediatricians warn of blackout period for vaccines

Pfizer announced Wednesday its COVID-19 vaccine is safe for children as young as 12. But pediatricians are reminding parents – the coronavirus vaccine isn’t the only one that matters.

"We’ve seen quite a dramatic decrease in the number of children who are up to date on their childhood immunizations, and in some cases up to a 25 percent decrease from previous years," explained Dr. Lee Beers, the president of the American Academy of Pediatrics. "We’re pretty concerned about this."

READ MORE: Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine proven 100% effective in children ages 12 to 15

And there’s a reason Beers and others are sounding the alarm now.

She said there’s actually a two-week "blackout period" before and after someone gets the COVID vaccine, meaning you can’t get any other shots two weeks before your COVID vaccine as well as two weeks after. It means that if you’re getting two doses of the vaccine with three weeks in between, you’re potentially looking at seven weeks total that you – or in this case, your child – can’t be vaccinated for anything else.

Beers said that could lead to a scenario where children may be safe from COVID, but just as communities begin to open things up again, they could be at risk for measles, pertussis, or whatever else.

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"We’re really strongly encouraging parents to, for lots of reasons, call their pediatrician now, get in for your well-visit, get caught up on any immunizations you might be behind on so that you’re really ready to go when the covid vaccines do become available for kids," Beers said.

She also reiterated that with all of the precautions doctors are taking right now, it is safe to bring your child in for a visit.