MURRAY, Utah (ABC4) — In this time of the coronavirus pandemic, medical providers for children want Utah families to know that they are there for them, and don’t want kids to get behind on important preventive care.
There has been a concerning drop in childhood and teen vaccinations in Utah, mirroring trends across the country. COVID-19 isn’t the only potential virus of concern for children and teens. Fortunately, there are existing vaccines that help protect children’s health. Children and teens need important immunizations to be completed before they enter elementary and middle school grades.
Aside from access to immunizations, well-child visits for children and teens include developmental and mental wellness assessments, vision and blood pressure screenings, and other guidance critical to their health and growth.
Michelle Jamison, a mother of four from Bountiful, was getting concerned as her daughter’s medical appointment was approaching. ‘I was really nervous and didn’t want to go in. But this was a specialist appointment that we had scheduled three months out prior.’
But she realized she could do the initial appointment virtually.
‘The doctor was there he popped up on the screen, we had our appointment and there were no other distractions which were nice we were done in and out and I didn’t have to leave the house.’
But anxiety crept back in when the doctor said Hailey needed her blood drawn.
She asked a few questions and the answers she got back to put her mind at ease.
‘So I called the lab before we went in and even before I got to a person on their message they had told everyone they are not testing COVID patients at this location and it eased my fears knowing that they weren’t testing there and I can take my daughter and it will be ok.’
Dr. Neal Davis, a pediatrician at Intermountain Healthcare is the medical director of Pediatric Community Based Care at Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital.
His main message is don’t put off the vital checkups, vaccinations, and mental health check-ups.
‘Providers for children are there for families to help navigate care. There are critical preventive cares that need to take place to make sure we’re keeping kids on the right trajectory for their health. Vaccines are one of the most important things that have gotten attention and that’s very appropriate. If we get below a certain thresholds vaccine penetrance in a certain population, that could create opportunities for an epidemic to follow the pandemic we’re in and I don’t think anyone wants to go to that place. There is an appropriate concern about the mental health of our preteens and teens right now. It’s not easy to be in a developmental stage when you’re supposed to be reaching out to be forced to be isolated. That can turn into a spiral that’s really challenging so I would encourage parents to watch for signs of further isolation.’
Families are encouraged to contact their child’s health care provider to find out what preventive care is needed, and the safest way for their child to receive care in light of COVID-19 impacts.
For more information, visit Intermountain Healthcare.
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