From Avoiding Vaccines to Getting A Child Caught Up: Where To Start?
Mar 31, 2021

If you’ve forgone vaccines in the past and are now looking to vaccinate your child, the good news is that getting your child caught up on vaccines is totally doable. It may feel daunting, but you aren’t alone. Whether your child is behind on a vaccine, missing several, or completely unvaccinated, your pediatrician will help you come up with a plan.

To get caught up on recommended vaccines, you’ll need to call your doctor, review the catch-up schedule on the CDC’s website, jot down any questions you may want to ask during your child’s visit, make a plan with your child’s pediatrician, and stick to it!

Start by Picking Up the Phone and Calling Your Healthcare Provider.
Call your pediatrician

Image via SELF Magazine

Once you’ve made the decision to get your child caught up on missed vaccines, start by dialing up your pediatrician to get an appointment scheduled. While on the phone, ask for a little information on which vaccines have been missed. Make sure to let them know that you are ready to have your child caught up on those vaccines.

Don’t be afraid to ask what you should expect and how to prepare you and your child for the visit. Chances are your friendly healthcare workers have picked up a trick or two to help make everyone feel more comfortable and confident!

Prepare For the Visit by Checking Out the Catch-Up Schedule.

The CDC offers immunization catch-up schedules based on age that your pediatrician will likely use when forging the best plan for your child’s vaccines. Check out the schedules so that you can get an idea of what to expect when you go to the doctor. Many vaccines have multiple doses (boosters) that should be given at certain intervals to work properly. You might need multiple visits to get your child totally caught up.

You’ll Probably Have Questions, So Write Them Down.

 It’s easy to forget what to ask your pediatrician at a child’s check-up, so make sure you write down any questions you come up with before taking your child in. Some suggestions are:

  • Which vaccines does my child need to be caught up on?
  • How many doses of each vaccine have been missed?
  • Will we need to come for multiple appointments?
  • Can you provide me with the schedule we will be using to catch my child up on missed vaccines?
Work With Your Provider to Come Up With a Plan. 

Image via SELF Magazine

Factors — such as disease outbreaks in your area, if your child might be around a new baby or immunocompromised person, or if you’re planning a trip overseas, for example, — could play a role in deciding which vaccines take priority. It doesn’t hurt to mention anything you think your doctor might need to know.

Make Your Next Appointments and Stick to Them.

It’s great you’re getting your child caught up on missed vaccines, but remember, your child needs all of the doses in a vaccine series to be as protected as possible. Keep the appointments, which are spaced out at the appropriate intervals, so that your child has the best chance at full immunity from disease.

Don’t Have Insurance? Ask Your Child’s Doctor About Vaccines for Children.

Insurance policies cover the cost of childhood vaccines; however, if you don’t have insurance, there are many ways you can get your child’s vaccines for free or at minimal cost.

For families who qualify, there’s a federally funded program called Vaccines for Children that offers families vaccines for their children at no charge. Also, you can look at your county’s health department’s website to see where they give vaccines at no cost to families.

Check out Vaccinate Your Family’s Paying for Vaccines for more.

Changing Your Mind About Vaccines and Deciding to Get Your Child Vaccinated Is OK!

You’re getting your child back on track, and that’s great! Find out what your child has missed, collect your questions, and follow the plan from your pediatrician. It’s easy, and with a little careful planning, your child will be protected from vaccine-preventable diseases in no time!


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