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As we approach the summer season, the demand for well child appointments will likely increase due to scheduled immunizations. We talked to 11 pediatric practices about how they’re approaching well child visits in the age of COVID-19 and learned the top five ways they’re getting ready:
Though wellness checkups typically start in May, many practices expect returning to well child visits and immunizations in June due to delays from COVID-19, and are preparing for a busy July and August as well. Even with delays, staying on schedule is key to keeping young children healthy, as many public schools require proof of immunizations.
Infection prevention has always been a top priority, but even more so now. Here are some of the ways practices are reducing exposure and transmission of COVID-19:
The COVID-19 pandemic is a reminder of the importance of vaccination, however, according to the CDC, fewer childhood vaccines have been given in the last 3 months; this means there is an increased risk for potential outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases2.
Most pediatricians expect immunization volume to catch up throughout the summer and plan to order vaccines as patients start to return. Carefully monitor the expiration date of existing vaccines, and stock up accordingly on additional vaccines, needles, syringes and other key supplies to ensure you can meet the patient demand.
“Once kids start attending class, it’d be better if they were immunized and ahead of the game than waiting. Other illnesses are still out there.”
— Nursing Supervisor, Texas
Reminding parents of the vital need to protect their children against vaccine-preventable diseases, even as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, is critical. As social distancing requirements relax, children who are not vaccinated can be more vulnerable to diseases such as measles2.
Many practices are staying in touch with patients throughout the pandemic via text, email and social media, communicating updates such as:
Some pediatricians are also reviewing patient charts and calling those who have missed their scheduled immunization.
“I think the flu shot is going to be a big deal this year. You don’t want flu and coronavirus at the same time, and we already have people asking if we have flu available. So I think we’ll give away all the flu shots we can possibly get our hands on this year.”
— Physician/Medical Director Rural Health Clinic, Mississippi
Shop products from childhood vaccines and molecular lab testing to your basic exam room supplies to make sure you have what you need to help keep your youngest patients healthy.
1: Piper Sandler Physician Survey, Conducted May 2020, Featured in Healthcare Dive article, Doctors say COVID-19 has slashed patient volumes, made finances shaky, 4.13.20. https://www.healthcaredive.com/news/doctors-say-covid-19-has-slashed-patient-volumes-made-finances-shaky/575876/
2: Santoli JM, Lindley MC, DeSilva MB, et al. Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Routine Pediatric Vaccine Ordering and Administration — United States, 2020. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2020;69:591-593. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6919e2external