As a parent, you are your child’s strongest advocate when it comes to making decisions about your child’s health and well-being. Kids Health First’s pediatricians can help guide you to navigate your child’s growth and development from birth through young adulthood. Please see below important messages from Kids Health First about your child’s health and safety during COVID-19.
Click here to find a pediatrician within the Kids Health First network.
A letter to parents on the importance of children receiving vaccines from their pediatric healthcare providers:
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently gave state-licensed pharmacists permission to administer all vaccines to children and adolescents from 3-18 years of age. This is an unprecedented move by the government that creates an “unnecessary alternative method to deliver immunizations,” and is strongly opposed by the American Academy of Pediatrics for a number of reasons.
First and foremost, in today’s world parents are looking for reassurance and expert pediatric guidance from their child’s pediatrician. This includes not only reassurance on the safety of vaccines, but also guidance on developmental milestones, mental health, nutrition, injury prevention, and chronic disease management. All of this is part of the same level of excellent and optimal care that children receive from their pediatricians, who know and understand your children’s medical histories. This is the purpose and intent of those highly important well-child checks during which all aspects of children’s health and wellness are addressed, and any new or unique concerns from parents can be reviewed.
Pediatricians, not pharmacies as a whole, participate as Vaccine for Children providers. These are the providers who administer vaccines at no cost to children who are Medicaid-eligible, uninsured, underinsured, or American Indian or Alaska Native. With pharmacies now able to administer vaccines, the healthcare inequities for these groups only widens during COVID-19, which has already shown significant discrepancies in access to healthcare for these children and their families. The Vaccines for Children has helped reduce these inequities and increased the vaccination rates—an important statistic for the health of all people in a community.
Be assured that Kids Health First member practices are open, safe, experienced, and available to provide any and all of your children’s vaccines. Communicating with your provider about any questions you may have is also important, and we are ready to discuss all matters related to vaccines or other subjects. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to your provider with any questions or concerns.
As your trusted pediatric healthcare partner in keeping your children healthy and safe, our providers are here to help.
For more information on the AAP’s position on the administration of vaccines, please visit www.services.aap.org/en/news-room/news-releases/aap/2020/american-academy-of-pediatrics-opposes-hhs-action-on-childhood-vaccines-calls-it-incredibly-misguided/
A letter to parents on the flu vaccine:
August 24, 2020
With flu season right around the corner, we want you and your family to be protected from the flu, now more than ever. With COVID-19 currently showing high levels in our community, we want to provide the greatest protection possible against the flu and other communicable diseases during this uncertain time. While COVID-19 has not affected children as severely as adults, the flu presents more difficulties and challenges for children, including flu-related hospitalizations, and in the most severe cases, death.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the flu vaccine is particularly important for infants up to age five, children with chronic medical conditions, children of American Indian/Alaskan Native heritage, healthcare providers, child care workers, pregnant women, those who have recently delivered and those mothers who are breastfeeding. Because flu can spread rapidly through the community, we recommend that you schedule your child’s flu vaccine appointment now.
The CDC recommends that flu vaccinations should begin earlier this year and be completed by the end of October. Children 6 months thru 9 years who have never had a flu vaccine before requiring a two-dose regimen. You need to schedule two appointments at least 4 weeks apart. Immunity develops approximately two weeks after the second dose.
Communicating any concerns you may have about the safety of vaccines and the benefits provided, is an important part of your discussion with your child’s healthcare provider.
Please call your pediatrician now to schedule your child’s flu vaccine appointment.
For more information on the flu, visit www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/chest-lungs/Pages/The-Flu.aspx or https://www.cdc.gov/flu/highrisk/children.htm.
A letter to parents on returning to school:
August 10, 2020
The month of August generally brings summer to an end as you and your children prepare for the return to school. This usually means it’s time to complete those required school health screenings, to schedule an appointment for updates to vaccines, to complete that pre-participation sports evaluation, to review current medications, and to schedule a visit to the pediatrician for other health-related concerns you may have. However, this year presents us with a different scenario. With the suspension of school last spring, the expansion of online learning, and many months at home with your families, the biggest question on your mind right now is probably “Is it safe for my children to return to school?”
The American Academy of Pediatrics has looked at this question very seriously over the last several months and says that children learn best in person for a variety of reasons. Having presented that advice as expert opinion to leaders across the country, the AAP also cautions us as parents and educators to ensure necessary and careful safety measures are in place before school begins. Working together as a team, educators, parents, and healthcare experts will help guide you toward the best decision for you and your family. This includes all of us continuously looking at the spread of COVID-19 in your community, which may dictate whether or not your child returns to in-person or virtual learning.
The AAP has outlined a list of recommendations schools should consider when reopening:
- Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces
- Wash hands frequently with soap and water
- Position desks 3-6 feet apart
- Reduce the number of students and staff in a classroom
- Move teachers between classrooms, not students
- Allow lunches to be eaten at desks or outside
- Use outdoor spaces when possible
- Require masks for all adults and older students
- Consider going virtual if the virus surges
While this year may not look like the school of previous years, ensuring your child’s safety is our top priority. For children with high-risk medical conditions or other issues, you may want to speak with your pediatrician and school staff to help you decide whether or not it is safe for your child to return to school.
For more information and suggestions on the return to school during COVID-19, visit www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/COVID-19/Pages/Return-to-School-During-COVID-19.aspxwww.healthychildren.org.