By Glenda Pettaway, MD and Honorio Bulos, MD of Dawson Pediatrics
As we all try to navigate the changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, many parents might be wondering whether it is safe to take their children to the pediatrician’s office. Pediatric offices have remained open to serve our families and have been taking additional precautions to ensure that parents and children are safe when they enter our offices.
This is an important time to ensure that your family stays in touch with your child’s pediatrician. Well visits and maintenance visits for chronic illnesses remain important during this time.
It is very important for children to stay up to date on immunizations. There has already been a noticeable fall in vaccination rate since the COVID-19 emergency declaration. This decline in vaccination rates will put communities at risk for vaccine-preventable illnesses. This is concerning as it means that when social distancing rules are relaxed in the upcoming months, may infants and children will be susceptible to diseases such as measles. We have experienced measles outbreaks in the United States in recent years due to pockets of unvaccinated children in the population. It is particularly important that children age two years and younger visit their pediatrician for well visits and vaccines during this time. This is that age when the majority of vaccines are given
Where, aside from your own home, are you safest? Healthcare facilities are staffed with employees that are exceedingly trained, experienced, and proficient in practicing advanced hygiene. Their daily activities included the use of handwashing techniques, wearing of protective gear, and sanitizing surfaces and equipment long before the COVID–19 crisis. They have only increased their vigilance in this area, arguably creating the safest space that one could find in their communities.
Ultimately, the need to visit your physician is a personal choice that you will need to make. It is my recommendation, and the recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatrics, to weigh the issue in terms of potential hazards that you will face from missing the appropriate timelines evaluations and protections from vaccinations.