As schools work on their re-opening plans for the upcoming school year, health officials are reminding parents to schedule back-to-school immunizations and check-ups.
Dr. Manish Bajracharya, Pediatric Intensivist and Pediatric ICU Director at Orange Park Medical Center, said well-child check-ups and immunizations are down due to the pandemic.
“As we all know, because of COVID, there’s a disruption in our lifestyle including well-child checks,” he said. “That means immunizations that need to be given to kids, that have been disrupted because of fear both on our part and also on parents part in getting well-child checks and it could be because of schedules, staffing and not getting out to get the health care schedule.”
The doctor said immunizations are important to prevent outbreaks of other diseases like measles or polio.
"We have seen in history, in the past, when the rate of immunizations drops in the community, there is a surge of the diseases that are well controlled by the immunization," said Dr. Bajracharya.
As the school year approaches, Dr. Bajracharya reminds parents to keep up with their child's immunizations and check-ups regardless of if they plan to send them back to the classroom or learn from home.
"One of the things we have to remember is immunization is not just for us, it's for our community, especially for the kids who are vulnerable and can't take the immunization themselves," explained Dr. Bajracharya.
Many hospitals and doctors' offices have strict protocols in place to keep patients safe amid the pandemic, including social distancing guidelines.
The Florida Department of Health in Duval County and Agape Community Health Center are offering back-to-school physicals and immunizations through August 8th. For a list of times and locations, click here.