SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — One of the many side effects of the pandemic has been people avoiding the doctor for routine checkups, leading to children being diagnosed with preventable diseases.
It starts with this message: Getting your children caught up on all their immunizations is one of the most powerful things you can do. This is a superhero moment.
Dr. Wanda Averhart with Brighton Hill Pediatrics says vaccine visits have tanked during the pandemic. Not just in Central New York, but all over.
“In Michigan alone, there’s been a 50 percent decline in vaccination rates. So, that kinda scares us as pediatricians,” said Averhart.
Averhart has seen a decline in patient visits at Brighton Hill Pediatrics when comparing the first quarter of this year to the same timeframe in the year prior.
It’s been expected, with so many people staying home during the pandemic. However, as more schools and businesses open up, those missed appointments are now creating concerns.
We do not want to skip those vaccines because we don’t want to have a coronavirus outbreak, and then a measles outbreak, whooping cough, and pertussis.Dr. Wanda Averhart
Those are viruses Averhart says can be avoided with vaccines that are waiting to go into arms again.
The goal of the Call Your Pediatrician campaign is to remind parents it is safe to visit the doctor again and that these routine checks up are essential to giving kids the protection they need.
“We’ve made a lot of differences to make it safe for them. We have the actual building divided into a well and a sick area. So, the sick patients are in one set of rooms and the well patients are in another set of rooms,” said Averhart.
With those changes in mind, she hopes parents will feel more comfortable stepping into the waiting room.
Dr. Averhart also says children who have had COVID-19 will need to be cleared before returning to school. If they play a sport, they will also need to be seen to get clearance for that before returning in the fall.