As Iowans continue to push through the COVID-19 pandemic and maintain their new sense of normalcy, parents and guardians of school-aged children are reminded that annual physicals and back-to-school immunizations are still important.
According to a report released by the Iowa Department of Public Health, since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, well child visits have declined significantly, causing a delay in required and recommended immunizations, health screenings, and referrals. Statewide, there was a 55.5% decrease in the administration of non-influenza vaccines to children ages 4-18 years during March and April 2020 compared to the same months in 2019. April had a 75.0% decrease from the previous year, while March had a 37.1% decrease. Compared to other child and adult age categories, the largest percent differences were among 11-12 year olds and 13-18 year olds.
“Declining immunization rates can cause additional health challenges for our children and second outbreaks of vaccine preventable diseases in our community,” said Lisa Moose, Veterans Memorial Hospital Community and Home Care Allamakee County Public Health Director.
Parents and guardians are encouraged to schedule their children’s well visits, back-to-school and sports physicals now. Many children are required to have vaccines before entering school and without the proper medical documentation of vaccines; this can hinder students from starting school on time.
“Take the time now and schedule your child’s well child and immunization appointment,” adds Moose. “Our community relies on all of us for our health and well-being.”
Veterans Memorial Hospital Community and Home Care has availabilities for immunizations which are now held on an appointment-only basis. To make an appointment for a private immunization clinic, please call Veterans Memorial Hospital Community and Home Care at 563-568-5660. When the appointment is made, instructions will be given for the private location the immunizations will be administered.
The Veterans Memorial Hospital Community and Home Care staff keeps records of each child in the county that has received shots at their office and can send the record to your child’s school or daycare as requested.
For more information on childhood immunizations, please visit https://idph.iowa.gov/immtb/immunization