New PSA campaign designed to boost falling immunization rates during pandemic

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released a series of TV public service announcements (PSAs) encouraging parents to vaccinate their children.

The PSAs, which depict parents who get their children up to date on their vaccines as animated superheroes, are the latest effort from the AAP’s Call Your Pediatrician Campaign. The 15- and 30-second spots are being distributed nationwide across television and social media in both English and Spanish.

“Getting children caught up on all of their immunizations is one of the most important things that parents can do for their children,” the AAP explained in a press release. “It’s a superhero moment.”

The impetus behind this PSA campaign, according to the AAP, was the trend of parents postponing or skipping their kid’s vaccinations during the Covid-19 pandemic, leaving their children vulnerable to contagious, preventable diseases including measles, mumps, and polio. According to a Blue Cross Blue Shield analysis conducted in late 2020, there was a 26% drop in vaccinations since the pandemic began — and, the AAP added, 40% of parents surveyed said their children missed their shots during this time.

“We know it has been challenging for parents to manage during the pandemic, but it’s very dangerous to skip or delay childhood immunizations,” said AAP national president Lee Savio Beers, MD. “Especially now, as in-person school and other group activities are resuming in so many communities.”

The AAP also pointed out that unvaccinated kids are at risk of falling even further behind once Covid-19 vaccines are made available to children, seeing as Covid vaccines cannot be given at the same time as other shots.

To help encourage parents who are hesitant to vaccinate their children, the AAP outlined the following facts about pediatric immunizations:

  • “Recommended childhood vaccines start just after birth and last through the teenage years.
  • “Here is the recommended schedule for birth through age 6 and 7-18.
  • “The schedule of immunizations has been researched and documented to be the most effective and safe way to protect children from disease.
  • “Vaccines are carefully timed to provide protection when children are most vulnerable, and when the vaccine will produce the strongest response from the child’s immune system.
  • “If your child misses a shot, you don’t need to start over. Just go back to your child’s doctor for the next shot.
  • “Children who might not otherwise get vaccinated and who qualify can receive vaccines at no charge through the federally funded Vaccines for Children.”

John McKenna, Associate Editor, BreakingMED™

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