Donna Hallas, PhD, PPCNP-BC, CPNP, PMHS, FAANP, FAAN, shares her thoughts on the Contemporary Pediatrics' October 2023 vaccine issue.
The October 2023 issue of Contemporary Pediatrics® provides a wealth of information about vaccines that every pediatric health care provider must know to protect infants, children, adolescents, and young adults from contracting vaccine preventable diseases. The advances in vaccine development and the effectiveness of new vaccines demonstrated in rigorous clinical trials to provide safe ways to combat the most dangerous infectious diseases circulating today in the United States and throughout the world is an amazing accomplishment.
Ask any parent who has lost a child to an infectious disease prior to the development of a vaccine about their experiences, and you will feel their pain as they speak and see the hurt in their body language. They never forget their loss, even as some remarkable parents work hard to prevent other children from contracting a vaccine preventable disease through their involvement in foundations or by speaking with other caregivers about the value of vaccines.
I highly recommend that every pediatric provider read each of the vaccine articles in this October 2023 edition of Contemporary Pediatrics including its editor-in-chief’s feature, “What’s new in pediatric vaccines"1 by Tina Tan, MD. FAAP, FIDSA, FPIDS. Additionally, Lori Handy, MD, MSCE wrote an important piece on, “The changing landscape of RSV prevention;2” as did Bob Kronemyer, on “Parents stigmatizing beliefs about HPV vaccine;3” and Angelica Joshi, BA; Siri Peddineni, BS; and Henry Bernstein, DO, MHCM, FAAP shared “Update on pediatric COVID-19 vaccination,4” which included data and information so that pediatric health care providers have the most up-to-date vaccine information to effectively communicate with parents, adolescents, and young adults about the benefits of vaccines.
New opportunities to keep kids and adolescents/young adults healthy
Today, there are so many barriers to keeping our pediatric populations physically and mentally healthy. The overwhelming mental health crisis that emerged during the pandemic and persists today, the threats of drug use, gun violence and attacks within the school systems, child abuse, and child/adolescent human trafficking, are just a few of these troubling challenges. These require the attention of multiple disciplines and will take considerable time and effort to make impactful changes.
On a more promising side, pediatric providers now have new opportunities with the latest vaccines to prevent some of the most devastating infectious diseases from causing severe illnesses and death in the pediatric populations that were not available just a few years ago. It is our responsibility to make every effort, every day in our practices to protect all our patients by encouraging parents, adolescents, and young adults to accept the vaccines to protect themselves and others from exposure to vaccine preventable diseases.
Our experiences should influence our practice policies
As pediatric providers, we have experienced firsthand the effects of an infant suffering from bronchiolitis on a pediatric unit or in the pediatric intensive care unit. We can now protect infants with the latest RSV long-acting monoclonal antibody, nirsevimab-alip.1
Pediatric providers have also cared for children and adolescents with Meningitis B disease. The new Pfizer combined ACWY and Meningitis B vaccine will soon be available.1 Most recently, we have all cared for children with a diagnosis of COVID-19.4 Take the time to update yourself on the latest available COVID-19 vaccines for infants from 6-months old through young adulthood.4
The hope of having a future with significantly less infectious diseases is now possible. Let’s make it happen by communicating with all parents, adolescents, and young adults about the benefits of vaccines. Set a goal to have all your pediatric populations fully vaccinated in your practice. Make the promise of a healthier future a reality!
1 Tan, TQ. What’s new in pediatric vaccines. Contemporary Pediatrics. 2023; 39(9):28-29. October 9, 2023. Accessed October 30, 2023. https://www.contemporarypediatrics.com/view/what-s-new-in-pediatric-vaccines
2 Handy, L. The changing landscape of RSV prevention. Contemporary Pediatrics. 2023; 39(9):36-38. October 11, 2023. Accessed October 30, 2023. https://www.contemporarypediatrics.com/view/the-changing-landscape-of-rsv-prevention
3 Kronemyer, B. Parents’ stigmatizing beliefs about the HPV vaccine. Contemporary Pediatrics. 2023; 39(9):40. October 19, 2023. Accessed October 30, 2023. https://www.contemporarypediatrics.com/view/parents-stigmatizing-beliefs-about-hpv-vaccine
4 Joshi, A. & Bernstein, HM. Update on pediatric COVID-19 vaccination. Contemporary Pediatrics. 2023; 39(9):41,47-50. October 2, 2023. Accessed October 20, 2023. https://www.contemporarypediatrics.com/search?searchTerm=update+on+pediatric+COVID-19