Parents concerned with bringing children to pediatrician, doctors say don’t delay vaccinations
Parents are understandably worried about bringing their children to the doctor during the pandemic, but pediatricians say delaying vaccines only causes more trouble.
Amanda Davia, a Coventry mother of two, had a scheduled check-up for her 6-month-old daughter on Monday but had some reservations about going. She said she has not left the house much, and going to the pediatrician meant possibly exposing her children.
“Last week I started to think what was it going to be like and wondering if I definitely want to take her but I don’t want her to miss her vaccines,” Davia said.
Davia ultimately decided to bring her daughter. She said because of precautions, they could not have felt more comfortable.
“They had well visits in the morning and sick visits in the afternoon,” Davia said. “So there was no chance we were going to be in the office at the same time as someone who was sick.”
The Pediatric Medical Director for Rhode Island Primary Care, Peter Pogacar, said most pediatrics are taking these same precautions with sick and well patients separated, and those at high risk seen outside the office.
Pogacar says parents with children 4 years old and younger need to keep up with their scheduled check-ins and vaccinations. While telemedicine has become a new norm, he said there is no replacement for an in-person physical.
“We would absolutely not recommend delaying vaccines and young children checkups because this could cause more trouble,” Pogacar said. “Young children need their vaccines to prevent vaccine-preventable diseases or they will be coming back.”
However, Pogacar says pediatricians have been shifting older children’s physicals to the summer.
Other precautions include not having anyone in the waiting rooms.
“The patients are calling from their cars and being called directly in a room and only 1 parent is accompanying the patient,” Pogacar said. “The parents are also instructed to use face coverings.”
Davia said these precautions are helping mothers feel more at ease.
“We just want to make sure our babies are kept safe,” Davia said.
The Department of Health shared these statistics from March 2020 compared to March 2019.
Pogacar said he understands why some parents are skeptical about keeping appointments.
However, he wants parents to know their pediatricians are taking every step possible to keep children safe in their offices, by completely changing how they provide care.
- Influenza 5% Increase
- Hepatitis B 12% Decrease
- DTaP 27% Decrease
- PCV/Pneumo 15% Decrease
- Polio 23% Decrease
- Hib 20% Decrease
- Rotavirus 14% Decrease
- MMR 39% Decrease (decrease for 2nd dose is higher than 1st dose)
- Varicella 41% Decrease (decrease for 2nd dose is higher than 1st dose)
- MenACWY 42% Decrease
- Men B 28% Decrease
- HPV 42% Decrease