Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, younger children have been falling behind on their vaccinations and immunizations, explained Steven Mattson, MD, a board-certified internist and pediatrician. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report in May 2020 stating there was indeed a drop in routine childhood vaccinations as clinics curtailed visits and families stayed home with their children.
However, the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend every child continues to receive routine vaccinations during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Nationwide, all physicians agree: Get your immunizations at the regular time, said Michael J. Holland, MD, a pediatrician with Trinity Health. “The medical community is doing everything it can to make sure of your safety in their office.”
As clinics have reopened, steps are being taken to promote patient and staff safety. “We are limiting people in the waiting rooms, getting them into the exam rooms, and cleaning the rooms in between visits,” Dr. Mattson said.
In addition, Trinity Heath requires all individuals to wear a face covering or mask when they enter Trinity Health facilities. At the same time, Trinity Health eased visitation guidelines in hospital and clinic settings, permitting one adult with no COVID-19 symptoms to accompany each hospital or clinic patient.
As parents prepare their children to return to school, Dr. Mattson said that pediatricians “need to be sure (these children) are getting back to seeing the doctor.”
The number of immunizations hasn’t changed. For students entering Kindergarten, they need to get vaccinations for diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella. Students entering the sixth grade need to get vaccinated for tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, and a menactra shot for meningococcal meningitis. When they turn 16, there is the MenB vaccination, a two-dose series of shots geared for meningococcal B, a different strain of meningococcal meningitis.
There is also Gardasil, an optional vaccination for human papillomavirus (HPV), which is recommended for children age 11 and up, Dr. Mattson said. The HPV vaccine protects against infections that can cause certain cancers, as well as genital warts. “I think it’s an important vaccine,” Dr. Mattson said. “I encourage it for everyone.”
Trinity Health has a team of pediatricians who provide medical care to infants, children, and adolescents from birth to age 18.
Kayla Bubach, FNP-C; Katharyn Burgardt, FNP-C; Ann Cadwalader, MD; Michael Holland, MD; Frederick Jones, MD; Friday Osuala, MD; Diana Peterson, MD; Anthony Udekwe, MD; and Ndu David Ugobi, MD, are based at Health Center – Medical Arts, 400Burdick Expy E. For appointments or consultations, please call 701-857-5413.
Thomas Carver, DO, and Allison Lesmann, FNP-C, are based at Health Center –West, 101 3rd Ave SW, Ste 204. For appointments or consultations, please call 701-857-3133. Steve Mattson, MD, is based at Trinity Health South Ridge, 1500 24th Ave SW,Ste 103. For appointments or consultations, please call 701-857-5343.