VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Kyra Phinney enjoys taking her son, Kairo, around the park in his stroller. A happy baby, he appears curious and runs around the park once his mom unhooks him from his seat.
He spends many of his days in daycare while Phinney works hard to provide a living for him.
She said it can get tough at times, keeping up with the almost-one-year-old.
“I’m a mom, I’m young… it’s weird. I’m kind of getting used to it," Phinney said, rocking Kairo back and forth in his stroller.
Phinney said she constantly keeps up on her son's health, especially monitoring a slight cough he recently developed.
His health is her top priority, so she said she doesn't jump into vaccination requirements the second a doctor recommends it.
She said she tries to study the material before she allows her son to get a shot.
“Yes, he probably does need the vaccines, but I make sure I read up on it and I know what he’s taking and what the vaccine is for," she said. "Because some of them might be unnecessary, but if I feel like it’s in his best health, I’ll make sure he gets what he needs."
It's children like Kairo, energetic and ready to take on many years of life ahead of him, who are becoming the future of school-aged children.
Looking at the list of the school and daycare center immunization requirements, the length can be dizzying.
From polio, to chickenpox, to the hepatitis A and B vaccines, parents are seeing a long list of requirements for their children ahead of the new school year.
CHKD Medical Group Director, Dr. Douglas Mitchell, said he and other health experts are trying to help parents keep up with the latest requirements and recommendations. He wants parents to get consider getting their children vaccinated sooner rather than later.
“Everybody is going to be busy. The last-minute rush is going to be a challenge to parents, and a challenge to pediatricians," Mitchell said. "So, schedule as soon as possible, and have patience. Everybody’s doing the best they can.”
Mitchell said while the COVID-19 and flu vaccines are not on the required list for schools or daycare centers, he highly recommends parents consider getting their children those shots.
He said he understands the constant updates on COVID-19 can be exhausting, especially for parents, but in the long run, getting young children vaccinated will protect even more around them.
“The same for us in healthcare. The more people we have immunized, the less problem we’re going to have with the virus moving forward," Mitchell explained. “We’ve got to protect the younger children, too, so they don’t bring it home and give it to the grandparents who are more likely to have bad outcomes.”
At his tender age, Kairo is already eligible for the COVID-19 shot. Phinney said for her small family, the rush to get the vaccines can wait.
“As far as COVID and the flu, I’ll wait until he gets older. Six or seven, maybe," Phinney said. "I’m going to leave him alone for a little while and not push too much medicine on him.”
Virginia has a full list of the state's required immunizations for daycare centers and school divisions.
You can learn more about the latest immunization status by clicking here.