By Suzanne Condron, M.D., F.A.A.P.
As we confront the COVID-19 pandemic, our routines are anything but routine. Working and schooling from home, wearing masks in public, and curtailing our social interactions are just a few of the crucial adjustments we have all had to make to protect ourselves and each other from the dangers of coronavirus. As we turn our lives upside down to mitigate one serious illness, it is important to stay vigilant against vaccine-preventable diseases that still pose a serious threat.
At times it seems coronavirus has turned us into armchair epidemiologists. Terms like herd immunity, contact tracing, and social distancing pepper our conversations. While researchers work frantically to create a safe and effective vaccine to end this pandemic, it is important to remember that the same scientific know-how has helped protect us from other devastating diseases: measles, meningitis, and whooping cough, to name a few.
Make It a Priority
The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend prioritizing routine vaccines for pediatric patients during this health crisis, especially children under 2 years old. The World Health Organization has documented a recent decline in worldwide measles and rubella vaccine efforts as some developing communities have had no choice but to delay this lifesaving preventive care. Now more than ever, we know that we can’t take our herd immunity for granted and that life-threatening illnesses are just a plane ride away. We must not risk setting ourselves up for a measles or pertussis outbreak as we battle the coronavirus pandemic. In addition to placing individual children at risk, disease outbreaks place a further burden on our healthcare resources.
We’ve Implemented Safety Precautions
At Kelsey-Seybold, we are taking measures to keep our most vulnerable patients up to date on vaccines in the safest way possible. If your infant, child, or teen is due for a check-up and any vaccine, please schedule a well visit with your pediatrician. This way we can monitor your child’s growth and development and address your general health concerns as we help protect against vaccine-preventable illnesses.
For your safety, you and your child will be screened at the entrance, asked to wear a mask (if the child is old enough to tolerate it), and seated at least 6 feet away from other families in the waiting area. To help with physical distancing in the clinic, we ask that only one parent accompany the child if possible.
During a time when we may feel powerless, let’s prevent what we can.
Dr. Suzanne Condron is a board-certified pediatrician at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic – Fort Bend Medical and Diagnostic Center. Her clinical interests include obesity, nutrition, allergies, asthma, childhood development, literacy, infectious diseases, and preventive medicine.