Local pediatricians see a decrease in vaccinations over COVID-19 concerns

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SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – According to a CDC study, there has been a drop in pediatric vaccines and well-child visits due to COVID-19 concerns. These concerns are also impacting local pediatricians’ offices in Siouxland.

“Vaccinations are really important for our children, to keep them healthy and our entire population healthy so that we don’t have any outbreaks,” said Audrey Cross, a Sioux City mother.

Each one of her children has received their immunizations to attend school and daycare.

“It’s never been a question for me since I became a mother 15 years ago that I would get my children vaccinated. I see the benefit of keeping them healthy and [the] other children that they will be around,” said Cross.

However, for some parents with young children, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the status quo for shots.

“There’s been a definite decrease in overall patient volume in the primary care setting due to the coronavirus pandemic, and that would include kids who are due for immunizations and well-child checks and things like that,” said Dr. Steven Joyce, M.D., Internal Medicine, Pediatrics at MercyOne Siouxland Medical Center.

Dr. Joyce said it’s highly recommended for children between two to six months of age to receive their immunizations.

“Those are when you are starting to build up your immunity. That is when the children are very young and are more susceptible since they haven’t had any vaccinations at that point yet,” said Dr. Joyce.

Joyce encourages his patients to stay up to date when it comes to all well-child visits and immunizations, adding if they don’t, there could be a local outbreak of varying diseases.

“Potentially we could see a rise in measles, mumps, and we have seen those in recent years. If you recall, in certain years, we do see a bump in cases [such as] chickenpox, or measles, or mumps, and we have seen those in clinical settings in Siouxland,” said Dr. Joyce.

MercyOne Clinics are not seeing patients in person that are showing signs and symptoms of COVID-19, but instead, they’re turning to telehealth visits. This is helping to keep clinics safe for the families.

“Obviously there is a virus out there right now that we don’t have a vaccine for, but I feel like as soon as one is available everyone should be running [out] to get one. So we should be doing that with all the vaccines that are readily available for us right now,” said Cross.

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