It’s summer vacation! That means it’s not only the best time for kids to spend long, lazy days playing with friends and going on adventures, it’s also the ideal time to get their immunizations and well-child visits completed without disrupting school. Every child in the United States has a recommended immunization and well-child visit schedule with their healthcare provider.
Since you’re a member of a Blue health plan, your dependents’ childhood immunizations and well-child visits are covered at little to no cost to you. (Children whose parents do not have health insurance may qualify for free vaccinations through the federal Vaccines for Children program.) In most cases, vaccinations for children and adults are covered 100%.
The easiest way to find out what preventive screenings your health plan covers is to call the customer service number on your member ID card before you go to the doctor. You can find out what screenings and immunizations are available to your child based on their age and get them at your scheduled well-child visit.
You can also get your child immunized at your local in-network pharmacy usually at no cost to you. It’s important to choose a covered in-network pharmacy (search for Find Care on our website or Blueprint Portal) and make sure the pharmacist runs your claim before giving the vaccine, so the cost will be covered. Getting a vaccine at the pharmacy is not a replacement for your child’s regular well-child visit, so make sure to get an appointment scheduled with their primary care provider.
Here are six compelling reasons to follow your child’s recommended vaccination and well-child visits schedule:
1. Safeguard your child’s health.
Vaccines help provide immunity before your child is exposed to potentially life-threatening diseases. There are many diseases and illnesses that modern medicine can’t yet prevent. But thanks to vaccines, a number of the most dangerous diseases of our past are now widely eradicated.
Vaccines can often completely prevent a disease. Other times, such as with seasonal flu, a vaccine does not necessarily prevent infection, but it does decrease its severity. All vaccines and their dosages are rigorously tested for safety and efficacy before children receive them.
Highly contagious diseases we can now vaccinate children of certain ages against include:
- Influenza (Flu)
- Human papilloma virus (HPV)
- Pertussis (whooping cough)
- Hepatitis A and B
- Meningococcal disease
Many vaccines require only one dose, so getting a single shot in childhood can protect your child from that disease the rest of their life. A few others, like the flu shot, must be given each year.
2. Protect your community’s health
Unvaccinated people are the hosts these viruses and contagious bacterial infections are seeking. A vaccinated community is like a wall of prevention. When there are chinks in that wall, infectious diseases can get through it.
Besides keeping your children healthier, vaccinations help keep your community safe. Diseases can spread rapidly through a community, infecting many people. That’s why vaccines work best at suppressing outbreaks when the whole community is vaccinated. Most adults already received their childhood vaccinations, so it’s important that children get immunized, too.
Keeping to the schedule of regular immunizations while your child grows is an effective, responsible way you can protect your community. Vaccinations help keep these severe illnesses from harming your family and the families all around you.
3. Legally enroll your child in school
Certain vaccinations are required by law for children attending childcare facilities or public or private schools. Private schools may have additional vaccination requirements.
4. Contain your family’s future health costs
It’s easier and less expensive to prevent a disease than to treat one. Serious diseases bring physical misery and compromised health. But they also can bring steep medical bills. Immunizing your family protects your bank account from being drained by these costly but usually avoidable diseases.
Since vaccinations are available to you at little to no cost, it’s a way to spend very little, if anything, to prevent or lower future medical bills you might otherwise incur for these conditions.
5. Give your pediatrician opportunities to care for your child over their first years of growth
Well-child visits help you keep your child healthy. These visits may be where childhood vaccinations are often given, but immunizations aren’t the only benefit of seeing a pediatrician at regular intervals as your child grows.
Your provider will give your child a complete physical examination and test their development to see how they’re maturing in relation to other children their age. They’ll go over your child’s medical history, risk factors and any symptoms they are presenting and offer guidance specific to your child’s health. These visits give providers and parents a chance to catch emerging issues early so they can be treated effectively.
6. Fortify your child’s immune system before they return to school
At the end of summer, children return to school and start spending their days in close quarters with each other. This regular mixing is peak time for viruses and bacterial infections to circulate. These include the dangerous preventable diseases listed above. Summer vaccinations are convenient, as you don’t need to take your child away from their school activities to get vaccinated. But they also help your child’s immune system be in top shape when your child returns to regular school days this fall.
If you have more questions about vaccines, please call our customer service number listed on your member ID card so we can connect you to good information that answers your questions.