Arizona health experts warn against delaying kids’ checkups, vaccinations
PHOENIX – Arizona health experts are warning parents against putting off well-child checkups, as recommended vaccination rates have declined during the coronavirus pandemic.
“These appointments are very important to assess your child’s normal growth and development, through physical exams, lab exams and vaccines,” Dr. Andreas Theodorou, a pediatrician with Banner University Medicine in Tucson, said Tuesday in a press release.
“Although you may think your child’s risk of contracting measles is low, things like trips to the grocery store or visits with others outside of your home can increase the risk of vaccine-preventable diseases. Don’t wait.”
Banner Health, the state’s largest hospital network, issued the release in response to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study showing a sharp decline in vaccination rates among young children last month.
The study showed that the up-to-date vaccination rate among 5-month-old children fell from around 67% in 2016-19 to just under 50% in May.
“Fortunately, now we have vaccines to protect our children and teens against 16 different diseases, and doctor’s offices have implemented precautions to protect the health and safety of its patients,” Theodorou said.
Parents should fill out paperwork in advance of office visits and follow instructions adopted by their doctors to protect patients and their families.
“For children older than 2 years old, this may include bringing masks to wear during your appointment,” Theodorou said.