Continue your child’s healthcare visits despite the pandemic

Continue your child’s healthcare visits despite the pandemic

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a significant drop in well-child visits. It can be easy to overlook the importance of routine medical exams, but they involve so many things vital to a child’s health.

From January to May 2020, the number of Medicaid and CHIP-enrolled children under the age of 2 receiving vaccinations declined by more than 30%. From March to May 2020, there was a more than a 40% decrease in health screenings, 44% fewer outpatient mental health services, and an almost 75% reduction in dental services, according to the Center for Health Care Strategies.

Well-child visits involve not only vaccinations, but also appropriate screenings for each age group, including mental health screenings. Rates of suicidal ideation and suicide attempts in youths increased in 2020 compared to 2019. Routine visits give providers the chance to intervene when needed. They also involve anticipatory guidance to ensure optimal health for our patients and the opportunity to practice preventative medicine.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants be seen by a pediatrician for a routine visit at least 10 times by age 2, with vaccinations being a very important part of these visits. If vaccination rates drop, the risk for another measles or whooping cough outbreak increases. Rates of bacterial meningitis cases could also increase if our school-age children and adolescents are not receiving their vaccines. These are all preventable.


How could it be safe to take my children to the doctor when there is a pandemic going on?

As pediatricians, our biggest priority is your child’s health and safety. We have taken measures to ensure that taking your healthy child to the doctor is as safe as possible. At Marshall Pediatrics, we have designated clinic sites for well-child visits that include patient screening upon arrival. We are also happy to see our sick patients at our NowCare location at HIMG, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Of course, all of our locations involve social distancing and wearing a mask for those old enough.

With your child’s best interest at heart, we strongly encourage you to continue scheduling your routine visits despite the pandemic. Help us ensure your child’s best health.

This article appeared in the March 1, 2021, edition of the Herald Dispatch.


Maggie DeBolt

Dr. Maggie DeBolt is a resident physician for Marshall Pediatrics.