The coronavirus pandemic is a reminder of the importance of pediatric vaccinations: according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the continued decline in routine pediatric vaccines indicates that children face increased risks for outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases. Dr. Marta Katalenas, pediatrician with Dell Children’s Medical Group, talked with Studio 512 about this development.
Dr. Katalenas – what can be attributed to the drop in childhood vaccinations?
“Parental concerns about potentially exposing their children to COVID-19 during well-child visits contributed to the decline. It’s important to remind parents of the vital need to protect their children against vaccine-preventable diseases. As social distancing requirements are relaxed, children who are not protected by vaccines will be more vulnerable to diseases such as measles. As of February 2021, public childhood vaccine doses are down over 11 million doses for non-influenza vaccinations. Vaccine rates for younger children are down 5-10%, but are down 17-21% according to the CDC. Considering that preteens ages 9-12 are due for four vaccines, it is crucial that we continue to provide protection against all vaccine-preventable diseases. ”
How important are routine well-visits for children, and what should they expect?
“Well-child exams look at more than just the physical health of a child or adolescent. During these visits, doctors also assess a child’s developmental, educational and behavioral health. In addition to tracking growth and developmental milestones, at these visits you’ll discuss any concerns about your child’s health and again getting scheduled vaccinations to prevent illnesses like measles and whooping cough (pertussis) and other serious diseases.”
Can children get caught up on vaccinations?
“It is never too late to get your children caught up on their vaccinations. Check with your doctor to ensure your child is up-to-date with vaccines. All Texas public schools, most private schools, and colleges require certain shots before kids start kindergarten, 7th grade, and the freshman year of college.”
Dr. Katalenas, what can you share about your practice?
“What is unique about my practice is that it is the first Primary Care Pediatric Clinic Dell Medical Group has in the area, we are located in Round Rock. From newborns to teens, children need routine wellness visits to check how they’re growing, identify health issues, get recommended vaccinations and get care for common illnesses and injuries. And if your child needs more care, we’ll connect you to pediatric specialists in heart, cancer, brain and spine, emergency care and more.”
Dell Children’s Medical Center is the only dedicated freestanding pediatric facility in the region. Serving a 46-county area and beyond, Dell Children’s is the premier healthcare provider for children and adolescents. Learn more by going to www.dellchildrens.net, or by calling (512) 324-0000.
Sponsored by Dell Children’s Medical Center. Opinions expressed by the guest(s) on this program are solely those of the guest(s) and are not endorsed by this television station.