According to the CDC, the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted national childhood immunization rates, as well as, the rate of well-child visits for children under 2 years of age. Parental concerns about potentially exposing their children to COVID-19 during appointments may be contributing to these declines.
Locally, data for Rhode Island is showing declines in vaccination and lead screening rates since the COVID-19 pandemic began. For March and April 2020 compared to March and April 2019, vaccines administered to children (0-18) are down 32% and lead screening is down 63%.
According to the Governor of Rhode Island, vaccination rates for children between the ages of two and seven plummeted 52 % in April and May when a stay at home order was in place. This situation leaves those unvaccinated children at risk for preventable diseases.
Many medical providers have implemented practices to increase immunizations and well-child visits for their patients while reassuring parents that these practices will keep their children as safe as possible.
Neighborhood supports the following recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics:
- Identify newborns, infants, children and adolescents who have missed well-child visits and or recommended vaccinations and contact parents as soon as possible to schedule an appointment.
- Inform families about precautions and practices put in place to keep them safe. Ask patients to remain outside (e.g., stay in their vehicles, if applicable) until they are called into the facility for their appointment.
- Scheduling well visits and sick visits at different times of the day.
- Keep children who are sick in separate areas from children who are well in the office.
- Collaborate with healthcare providers in the community to identify best practices for improving preventive health care compliance during the pandemic.
*Neighborhood members may be eligible for our member rewards program Member Rewards Forms and can get a $25 gift card for 18 month and 3-19 year old well-child visits and for getting all their recommended immunizations by their 2nd birthday.
Thank you for all you do to keep your patients healthy and safe.