Mosaic pediatrician Beau Gilmore, MD addresses the importance of maintaining childhood immunizations, even during COVID-19.
As a father, uncle, and pediatrician, I was incredibly concerned to read a report released last week that showed a sharp drop in routine childhood vaccinations. The report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicated that as many as 2.5 million fewer vaccine doses were ordered this spring. Worse yet, this likely underestimates the true impact, since that database only accounts for 50% of children in the United States. Therefore, this decline in immunizations for preventable, sometimes fatal diseases, could be much worse than the initial report indicates. Are we about to see outbreaks of meningitis, measles, and pertussis in our communities already struggling in the fog of COVID-19?
Immunizations save lives
Vaccines may be one of our greatest global health achievements in modern history. We have the ability to protect kids from 16 different diseases (including cancer!). According to the World Health Organization, we avoid at least 3 million deaths a year by preventing things like measles and diphtheria. Vaccines are so important that we’re seeing an unprecedented race to develop a safe, durable, and effective vaccine for SARS-CoV-2. Despite all the controversy surrounding vaccines, it is clear they save lives and make us safer.
Vulnerability and protecting our families
But I get it too, you know? These are scary and uncertain times in a rapidly changing world filled with information and disinformation. As a parent, how do you safely navigate this pandemic not only for yourself, but for your family? Even the most mundane activities such as shopping for groceries or going to the park are approached more cautiously. As the current president of the American Academy of Pediatrics recently said, “The COVID-19 pandemic is giving all of us a real-time education in what vulnerability feels like.” It’s true. And it’s scary—especially if we have an infant at home. How can we know our doctor’s office, or any place, is safe?
Caring for kids continues during the pandemic
As someone who cares for kids every day, I think I have the best job in the world. I get to see toddlers start school, teenagers awkwardly move through puberty, and adults become new parents. It’s an amazing privilege but an even higher responsibility to make sure all of these people are kept healthy and safe. And this pandemic won’t stop us from doing everything we can to protect your family. Many offices are separating sick and well children, increasing sanitation and cleaning standards, and conducting telehealth visits. We recognize that while our lives have been changed by COVID-19, your life must still go on. That’s why we stayed open, answered your calls, and continued to provide advice and offer visits.
We are here for you
So let us partner with you, and we’ll walk through this crazy and uncertain time together. At Mosaic Medical, we never closed our doors. We have entirely separate locations for sick and well visits for our pediatric patients. We have more than adequate masks, gloves, gowns, and vaccines to protect you and your children. But it’s not just us. Every pediatric provider in this town wants to see your child and keep them safe. So please, call your provider today and schedule that visit you’ve been putting off—especially for children less than 2 years of age. We want to see you. We want to care for you. And most of all, we want to keep you healthy and safe.
To schedule an appointment with our Mosaic Pediatrics team call 541-383-3005.