As the Delta variant brings a new wave of positive COVID-19 cases right before the beginning of school season, pediatricians are stressing the importance of routine vaccinations. August is National Immunization Awareness Month, a perfect time to highlight this need and gain insight from UT Physicians experts.
At the beginning of 2020, the American Academy of Pediatrics released a call to action to pediatricians across the nation as standard childhood vaccinations dropped. In addition to missing much-needed immunizations, children were also missing wellness appointments. This, of course, was all a direct result of the pandemic and its uncertainty.
With doctor’s offices reopened and practicing all recommended safety measures, pediatric experts still see a decline in these necessary visits and vaccinations.
“Many families missed their well-child visit last year due to the fears surrounding the pandemic, but that makes it even more critical now to call their pediatrician,” said Sandra L. McKay, MD, pediatrician with UT Physicians and associate professor of pediatrics at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth. “We are here to help determine what vaccines need to be caught up on, and perform a vision, hearing, and mental health screening, as well as a full physical exam.”
Kenya Parks, MD, pediatrician with UT Physicians, warns even though we are still in the midst of a pandemic, other viruses and bacteria are still out there in our community that can impact children.
“A recent example of vulnerability is the rise of other viruses and bacteria, including RSV, a common respiratory illness,” said Parks, associate professor of pediatrics at McGovern Medical School. “While we can’t protect our children against everything, parents can help protect them against preventable illnesses by keeping up with pediatric appointments and vaccinations.”
In addition to the need for routine immunizations, like the ones for measles and flu, both Parks and McKay recommend the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children beginning at the age of 12.
“We are happy to discuss the vaccine with patients and families,” said McKay. “Many schools this year are back in person and sports will be starting back up in the fall, so now is a critical time to protect your child against COVID-19.”
For parents and caregivers interested in scheduling an appointment with one of our pediatric experts, visit our Children’s Health page or call us at 888-488-3627.
“UT Physicians clinics are safe for well-child visits and routine immunizations,” said Parks. “We’re here to help and care for your children in a holistic manner to set them up for success in the approaching school year.”