Report: Missed Well Visits Put Kids at Risk for Communicable Diseases
Friday, August 6, 2021
RALEIGH, N.C. -- Parents should catch their kids up on missed doctor visits, and in some cases, vaccinations, to protect themselves and their communities before they return to school, according to a new report by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute.
Earlier this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported orders for all non-influenza childhood vaccines had decreased by around 11 million doses, a direct result of fewer pediatric visits.
Elizabeth Hudgins, executive director of the North Carolina Pediatric Society, said it could put more kids at risk for becoming ill from communicable diseases such as measles.
"Vaccines are absolutely important for kids of all ages," Hudgins asserted. "And they are a great way to keep kids safe, in school and out of school."
The report showed visits to providers' offices fell by 58% for all age groups in March of last year, and visits for toddlers dropped 75%, the largest decline by any age group. Some parents don't immunize children for religious reasons, while others worry about potential health risks of some vaccines, although those are reported to be extremely rare.
Dr. Lee Beers, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, explained well visits can set a child on track to stay healthy and safe.
"The pediatrician will make sure that you're up-to-date on your vaccines, but will also check in on growth and development and your child's mental health, and make sure that chronic diseases are taken care of," Beers outlined. "So, there's lots and lots of reasons to get back to your pediatrician now."
According to the North Carolina Area Health Education Centers, some pediatricians have allowed sibling well-child visits, so parents only have to come into the office once instead of twice or more, and have implemented more consistent schedules for telehealth visits and in-person follow-up.
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