Dear parents – Call your pediatrician
Realizing a noticeable dip in immunizations, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has launched a campaign advocating for parents to call their child’s pediatrician to schedule any important upcoming checkups or vaccines.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released information early in May showing that from mid-March to mid-April doctors in the Vaccines for Children program ordered 2.5 million fewer doses of vaccines. Of course, around that same time the COVID-19 pandemic was spreading rapidly throughout the country.
However, now with health care clinics reopening there still seems to be a decline in vaccinations, which could have serious consequences in the near future. Schools and organized sports will be returning in just a few months.
“As a pediatrician, I am deeply concerned for the health and welfare of all children. Vaccine-preventable diseases can lead to hospitalizations and even death,” said Kenya Parks, MD, FAAP, pediatrician at UT Physicians and assistant professor of pediatrics at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth.
The AAP says that now is an important time for parents to follow up with their child’s pediatrician for immunizations, wellness visits, and to discuss any health concerns that may not have been addressed in recent months.
Disproportionately affected by the impact of the pandemic are the African American and Latinx communities, as well as those who have lost employment and access to health insurance.
Sandra L. McKay, MD, pediatrician at UT Physicians and assistant professor of pediatrics at McGovern Medial School, explains that parents who may be experiencing difficult times right now should not delay health care for themselves or their children.
“Pediatricians are here to help parents with any need, especially resources for the entire family during this health crisis,” said McKay.
With businesses and public places resuming somewhat normal operations, there is a concern for the resurgence not only of COVID-19, but also other preventable communicable diseases.
“I fear that as the state begins to reopen, combined with the decrease in vaccination rates, we will begin to see outbreaks of diseases like measles or whooping cough. These are extremely preventable,” said McKay. “We want to keep your children safe. UT Physicians cares and we’re here to help.”