RAHC Encouraging Immunizations

RAHC Encouraging Immunizations

REVIEWING the health records of a young patient with him and his family is Dr. Percita Ellis (right), a pediatrician with the Rockbridge Area Health Center. The review was part of an annual pediatric well-child visit that includes administering immunization shots.

COVID-19 Fears May Be Affecting Numbers

The Rockbridge Area Health Center is seeking to get the word out about how important it is to keep children’s immunization shots up to date, even during a pandemic.

The Virginia Department of Health reported that as of May 31, vaccine doses being administered were down 23 percent statewide compared to previous years. The likely reason is reluctance on the part of people to visit a health care facility because of fears about COVID-19.

“Parents are being cautious about bringing their children to a health care facility during the pandemic, said Dr. Percita Ellis, a pediatrician with RAHC. “But [we have] specific guidelines and procedures in place to mitigate risks to patients because it’s critical for infants and children to continue to be administered to and immunized.”

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a childhood immunization schedule that helps to protect against 14 childhood diseases by the age of two. Noting the decrease in immunizations, RAHC’s pediatric providers and staff have worked throughout the pandemic to identify pediatric patients in need of the recommended vaccinations.

Those families are being contacted to schedule in-person appointments, especially children less than 24 months old, which is the time when many childhood vaccines are recommended. Additionally, certain immunizations require a booster to continue preventing diseases and those pediatric patients who are overdue are also being contacted to schedule well-child exams during which booster shots can be administered.

To schedule an immunization appointment, or to find out more about RAHC’s services, call (540) 464-8700 or visit rockahc.org.

The News-Gazette

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