In response to pediatricians and the New Jersey Department of Health (DOH) reporting a drastic decline in the number of children receiving their vaccinations on schedule during the COVID-19 pandemic, Chair and Vice-Chair of the Assembly Women and Children Commitee, Gabriela Mosquera (D-Camden, Gloucester) and Lisa Swain (D-Bergen, Passaic), along with the Chair and Vice-Chair of the Assembly Health Committee, Herb Conaway (D-Burlington) and Angelica Jimenez (D-Bergen, Hudson), released the following joint statement:
“In addition to the coronavirus itself, this pandemic has posed another danger to the health and well-being of New Jersey children. Many parents who are understandably worried about their children contracting the virus have avoided taking their kids to the doctor’s office these past few months.
“While it was and still is important for residents to social distance as much as possible to limit the spread of COVID-19, receiving medical care has always been an essential need.
“Not only are parents allowed to leave the house to seek medical care for their children, but they are strongly encouraged to do so if that care cannot be provided through the use of telehealth. Vaccines are not something that can be administered remotely.
“We encourage parents not to fear the doctor’s office right now. Many have put protocols in place to help prevent uninfected children from contracting COVID-19 during their visit. Whether they stagger scheduling so fewer patients are in the office at any given time or even provide care outdoors, there are ways to limit the spread of the virus while still helping children.
“This pandemic has truly highlighted just how important vaccinations are. Though we haven’t yet developed a vaccine for COVID-19, access to one would have saved countless lives.
“What we do have are vaccines for other dangerous illnesses such as measles, meningitis and polio that children need to receive in order to be protected from serious health consequences.
“It’s important for both the well-being of your own child and other children in the community to make sure kids are getting their vaccinations on schedule – especially as daycare centers and camps prepare to reopen. We urge every parent who hasn’t already done so to get in touch with your doctor about how and when to proceed with your child’s vaccinations as soon as possible.”