Well-child visits are also a good time to ensure children are up to date with all their vaccines and boosters.

Well-child visits are also a good time to ensure children are up to date with all their vaccines and boosters.

A safe, happy holiday season begins now. Here’s why

Vaccines + boosters are key to keeping loved ones healthy this season

With children back in school, sports and other extracurricular activities, at the same time the weather keeps them inside more often, it’s more important than ever to ensure their immunizations are up to date.

That includes the bivalent vaccine for COVID-19, which targets both the original and the omicron variants, and the usual childhood immunizations that may have been postponed during the pandemic, says Kaiser Permanente’s Dr. Adam Jonas.

The message is especially timely with the upcoming holiday season, when illnesses brought home can pose a significant risk to more vulnerable family members. And that’s in addition to time children will spend off school when sick and days caregivers will need to take off work.

Like others before it, the newest booster vaccine for children has been proven both safe and effective in reducing the chances of severe illness. And with flu season also on its way, pairing the COVID-19 bivalent booster with a flu vaccine will give individuals — and their loved ones — extra protection.

Side effects for the bivalent vaccine are minor and largely involve some arm soreness, Dr. Jones says, noting that the COVID vaccines have undergone the same rigorous testing as vaccines before it, with excellent supporting data. For those who feel some fatigue or mild flu-like symptoms, that’s a good sign — it shows the vaccine is working, he says.

Book your vaccine or booster today

The immune system takes about two weeks to fully respond to the vaccine, meaning families should aim to receive the booster by Nov. 10, well ahead of Thanksgiving gatherings, Dr. Jonas notes.

Well-child visits are also a good time to ensure children are up to date with all their vaccines and boosters. During the pandemic, many people transitioned to virtual doctor visits, so in-person appointments for vaccines such as mumps, measles and polio may have been put on the back burner, Dr. Jonas notes. However, these potentially dangerous diseases can re-emerge when vaccines aren’t maintained.

There’s a lot of information — and misinformation — out there about vaccines, and it’s important to consult accurate, informed, science-based resources. For information about the COVID-19 bivalent vaccine or other vaccines, go to vaccinelocator.doh.wa.gov or talk to your health care provider. To find more information about Kaiser Permanente, visit healthy.kaiserpermanente.org/washington.

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Well-child visits are also a good time to ensure children are up to date with all their vaccines and boosters.
A safe, happy holiday season begins now. Here’s why

Vaccines + boosters are key to keeping loved ones healthy this season