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Pediatric clinics face decrease in routine checkups

Published: Jul. 21, 2021 at 7:21 PM CDT
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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - Pediatric clinics are seeing a decrease in routine checkups for patients since the pandemic began, leading to a decline in immunizations.

Dr. Nola Ernest with Enterprise Pediatric Clinic said their office is open and they are offering protection for families and patients during the pandemic to continue their regular meetings.

She said the clinic is seeing fewer “well child” visits compared to pre-pandemic, resulting in missed opportunities to get routine vaccinations in place. Dr. Ernest said there are risks in this result, including a possible delay in school enrollment and college enrollment, but she said most importantly a potential disease outbreak.

“Vaccinations are given at specific times and those times are related to when the diseases are most likely to happen in childhood and when those diseases are most likely to be severe in childhood and so when you delay a vaccination that makes it much more likely that there is going to be an outbreak of disease,” Dr. Ernest said.

Dr. Ernest said as far as they are aware, they have had no cases of COVID spread from children to staff or from children to children in the office by taking the measures they currently have in place. Those measures include mask wearing, social distancing and patients waiting in their car rather than the waiting room.

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