We’re getting asked by many parents if, during this pandemic, they should bring their children in for vaccinations and scheduled well visits. In general, the answer is yes. Getting those early immunizations in for babies and toddlers has important benefits. It helps to protect them from infections, such as pneumococcus and pertussis that can be deadly, at a time when their immune system is vulnerable. For some children with special health conditions, or those who are behind on immunizations, waiting is definitely not recommended.
Leading experts warn that delays in immunizations could cause outbreaks of preventable diseases later in the year. The World Health Organization recently said in a statement, “Immunization is an essential health service which may be affected by the current COVID-19 pandemic. Disruption of immunization services, even for brief periods, will result in increased numbers of susceptible individuals and raise the likelihood of outbreak-prone vaccine preventable diseases such as measles.”
If your child has a well visit and is not due for immunizations, you can bring him/her to see the pediatrician. At CareMount Medical, our offices are open and we have taken every precaution and followed all the protocols for safety and sanitization instated by the CDC and NY State Department of Health. If you’re uncertain about what to do, call your provider’s office and discuss your particular situation, including not only your child’s health situation, but also the prevalence of the virus in your community and whether you have or might have been exposed. Together, you can make the best decision for your child.
What requires an in-person visit?
- Acute illness or injury that could be serious, such as a child with trouble breathing, significant pain, unusual sleepiness, a high fever that won’t come down, or a cut that may need stitches or a bone that may be broken. Call your doctor for guidance on whether to bring your child to the office or urgent care.
- Children who are receiving ongoing treatments for a serious medical condition such as cancer, kidney disease, or a rheumatologic disease. These might include chemotherapy, infusions of other medications, dialysis, or transfusions. Your doctor will advise you as to any changes in treatments or how they are to be given during the pandemic, but you should not skip any appointments unless your doctor tells you to do so.
- Checkups for young children who need vaccines.
- Checkups and visits for children with certain health conditions. This might include children with breathing problems, such as asthma, whose lungs need to be listened to; children who need vaccinations to protect their immune system; children whose blood pressure is too high; children who aren’t gaining weight; children who need stitches out or a cast off; or children with abnormal blood tests that need rechecking. If your child is being followed for a medical problem, call your doctor for advice. Together, you and your child’s pediatrician can decide when and how your child should be seen.
Sources: American Academy of Pediatrics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention World Health Organization