Maintaining Well-Child Checkups & Immunizations Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

This article appeared in ABC 4. Read more here.

As families commit to staying home by social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19, pediatricians at Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital want to remind parents to continue critical medical care including newborn care and well-child checkups involving childhood vaccines.

“It’s important that children maintain their vaccination schedule to stay safe and healthy,” said Dr. Tim Duffy, an Intermountain Healthcare pediatrician. “Parents should know that pediatrician offices have created ways to allow well children to safely access these important appointments.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released a statement emphasizing the importance of newborn care and well child care as it relates to maintaining childhood vaccines, particularly in young children.

Medical providers for children around the state of Utah have largely adopted practices suggested by the American Academy of Pediatrics that minimize risk COVID-19 exposure and allow for the delivery of services to newborns and young children.

According to the CDC, these strategies include a combination of ways to separate children who are sick from children who come for well-child checkups in the following ways:

Scheduling well visits in the morning and sick visits in the afternoon
Separating patients spatially, such as by placing patients with sick visits in different areas of the clinic or another location from patients with well visits.
Collaborating with providers in the community to identify separate locations for holding well visits for children.
Many clinics are using other innovative strategies as well, such as check-ins from cars and expedited rooming, avoiding waiting rooms altogether.

If a clinic is able to provide only limited well-child visits, the CDC and American Academy of Pediatrics encourages newborn care and vaccinations for children through age 24 months to take priority. Providers also may opt for telemedicine options.

Contact your child’s medical office to learn about the specific practices they are using to provide needed services while reducing the risk of COVID-19 exposure.

If you have questions, talk to your pediatrician, want to work with families to keep children well, and ensure they stay on schedule with immunizations.

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You’ve got questions. That’s a good thing.

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