Health awareness

Is your child up to date on their vaccines? Make a plan today

Keeping kids’ vaccinations current can help protect them against vaccine-preventable diseases

October 21, 2022

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One of the many ways parents can help protect their kids from certain infectious diseases is by staying up to date on their recommended vaccines.

“Vaccines are powerful tools that can help protect against certain diseases. Making sure your kids are up to date on their vaccines is one way you can help protect them,” said Andrew “Drew” Otoo, PharmD, president of global vaccines, Merck. “Speak with your child’s health care provider and ask about vaccines that may be recommended.”

In addition to scheduling vaccinations, child well-visits are essential for discussing concerns about your child’s health and tracking growth and developmental milestones.

Dr. Andrew Otoo
Dr. Andrew “Drew” Otoo

“For all of us, let’s get creative. We’ve seen what our communities can do when it comes to new and effective ways to reach populations for vaccination.”

Even small actions can have an impact. Parents and community members can make a point to talk about routine and recommended vaccinations because it makes a difference. Health care providers can use electronic health records and immunization registries to remind parents to schedule well-child visits for children who may be overdue for a check-up.

It’s critical to increase low vaccination rates seen during the COVID-19 pandemic

In 2021:


~ 25 million children around the world missed their childhood immunizations due to the pandemic, 2 million more than in 2020 and 6 million more than in 2016, according to UNICEF


~ 211,000 kindergarten-aged children in the U.S. didn't receive their recommended vaccinations, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

“Our purpose is clear: How do we take what we’ve learned from the pandemic and translate it to our work to increase vaccination rates for all recommended vaccines for all populations, including underserved communities and communities of color to help protect public health? There is an urgency to this work,” said Dr. Otoo.

Health literacy is also key in these efforts. When you comprehend health information, you can make make informed health decisions.

“We’re surrounded by so much information coming at us from so many directions, and it can be hard to make sense of where to go for guidance or answers,” said Dr. Otoo. “It’s so important to make sure that we’re providing information that parents can understand to help them make informed decisions about vaccination for their families, as well as overall health care.”

For more than 130 years, Merck has been a pioneer in the fight against vaccine-preventable diseases. But the burden is still too high, and new threats to global health will emerge. That’s why we are continuing to invest in groundbreaking research and breakthrough technologies to help protect against these potentially life-altering vaccine-preventable diseases. We are also engaging partners globally, nationally and locally to help recover vaccination rates impacted by the pandemic, build trust and improve access to vaccines.

We remain focused on helping to protect the health of people around the world and across all stages of life.