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Parents delaying childhood vaccinations during coronavirus outbreak

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Posted at 1:33 PM, Apr 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-07 22:10:14-04

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — Parents and pediatricians are weighing their options when it comes to moving forward with well visits and immunizations during the coronavirus outbreak.

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Many parents of children over a certain age are making the decision to delay their child’s vaccinations to reduce the possible risk of going into the pediatrician’s office.

Laura Carter of Boca Raton said her son is about to turn two on Easter Sunday and is due for a Hepatitis A booster shot. But now, Carter is hesitant about taking him in.

"I called to see how bad it would be to delay the appointment and they said it’s totally up to us," Carter said.

The American Academy of Pediatrics encourages pediatricians during the COVID-19 pandemic to consider modifications to the structure of their clinic schedule and space. Guidance includes making sure newborns, infants, and younger children are the top priority when it comes to immunizations, while middle childhood to adolescent ages can be rescheduled.

The AAP said practices may consider several adjustments to their operations such as the following:

  • Pediatricians may choose to only conduct well visits for newborns and for infants and younger children who require immunizations, and to reschedule well visits for those in middle childhood and adolescence to a later date
  • Pediatricians may choose to limit well visits to early morning while reserving the remainder of the day for sick visits
  • Pediatricians are encouraged to dedicate specific rooms for sick visits and well visits, or for those with multiple practice sites to consider using one office location to see all well visits (staffed by those in higher risk categories)
  • Pediatricians may choose to increase their capacity to deliver telehealth
  • If available, pediatricians are encouraged to utilize drive-through dedicated COVID-19 testing sites

Carter said she plans to reschedule her son’s vaccination for a later time.

"They said it’s really not that big of a deal. We can wait as long as we want to rescheduled it for a month later,” said Carter.