Parents must understand and implement preventive measures when discussing COVID-19 or other infectious diseases. Several outbreaks arise whenever a school reopens after its annual break. Such infections traditionally include influenza, dengue fever, respiratory-related illnesses, and hand, foot, and mouth disease. Preventive measures remain paramount to keep parents and their children free from illness and disease.
While minimum health protocols are observed, we know that kids tend to be relaxed and would remove masks when playing with classmates. Children up to teenagers are carefree and mindless of their actions outside their homes, so parents need to be extra careful with them, especially now that restrictions are being lifted. As we slowly get back to the new normal, our kids’ first line of defense is to get immunized before mingling with people. The gift of immunity sets them up for lifelong protection.
Jo-pie Hernandez, a mother of a 17-year-old senior high school student, shared how she ensured the health and safety of her kid.
Building vaccine confidence
Vaccines help the immune system fight infections more efficiently by sparking your immune response to specific diseases. If the virus or bacteria ever invades the body, the immune system knows how to fight it. It is a way to create immunity and be protected from diseases. Sometimes, this is done by using small amounts of a killed or weakened germ that causes the disease. Other times, the vaccine is simply a small piece of the germ, such as a protein or a piece of its genetic material.
“I cite very concrete examples because my kids are looking for proof all the time. For example, I told them that it’s rare for them to see people with polio today. It’s because the vaccine did that for them,” said mommy Jo-pie Hernandez. “If there’s one thing that COVID had done, it brought vaccine confidence.”
Parents have the unique opportunity to inculcate the importance of vaccination. An early headstart will give our kids the necessary vaccine knowledge and help them avoid fake stories about it.
“The vaccine gives you a degree of assurance that you can socialize with classmates and friends. Now we can visit your Titas and Lolas because of your vaccination,” noted Mommy Jo-pie when she convinced her children to get vaccinated.
Communicating health and safety
Good communication between you and your child is essential in developing a healthy and positive relationship. This would also make it easier for you to talk about complex topics as they get older. Mothers often have the opportunity to spend more time with kids especially in their formation years. Mommy Jo-Pie used this opportunity to foster an open, healthy and inclusive environment for her children.
“I try to encourage active discussion. I’d like to believe that I built an environment where they can freely talk to me about anything,” said Mommy Jo-pie.
Schools as partners in promoting vaccination
School-based immunization is a strategy for reaching older children and adolescents. It is a platform to provide a second opportunity for vaccination and an excellent platform that integrates other public health interventions like mass deworming.
To prepare for the full reopening of schools, the Department of Health (DOH) and Department of Education (DepEd) are working closely to create a prevention mindset among teachers, parents, and their children to be ready to return safely.
“Although I prefer my kids to get vaccinated by their pediatrician, I always comply with the school’s requirement to submit vaccination cards of my children,” Mommy Jo-pie emphasized. “Vaccines protect our kids. If there’s one thing we need to do for our kids, let’s get them vaccinated.”
Parents, especially moms, have a powerful role in ensuring their children’s health and safety from infancy to teenage years. Making informed decisions about vaccination is more than personal protection. Vaccinations protect your child from deadly diseases like polio, tetanus, and diphtheria. They also keep other children safe by eliminating or greatly decreasing dangerous diseases that used to spread from child to child.
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