Actions

Safely Back to School: Doctor weighs in as more families avoid the doctor's office

doctor-and-kid-taking-blood-pressure.jpg
Posted at 10:49 AM, Jul 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-28 20:58:13-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — While your doctor's office may be up and running once again, with some obvious changes to their normal operating procedure, due to COVID 19.

SAFELY BACK TO SCHOOL: SEE MORE STORIES

The months-long closure has created some issues, especially when it comes to vaccinations.

We talked to Dr. Angela Andrews who specializes in pediatrics and internal medicine at Mercy Health about concerns parents may have as they prepare for the new school year.

"A lot of people were afraid to come out and there was also the quarantine people were instructed in order not to come out," said Dr. Andrews.

She says as a result, families have been passing on their well-child visits which includes vaccinations.

"But we also didn't have the same capacity to have all the well child visits that we normally did because a good portion of our physicians were doing virtual care. So now that the offices are open again, if things are safe, I'm hoping to get them back in."

According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the drop in vaccinations back in may of this year, was considerable, compared to the two previous years.

The overall vaccination rate dropped 44.5 % with the largest decline of more than 65% in kids between the ages of 9 and 18 years of age.

Dr. Andrews says these numbers can effect us all.

SAFELY BACK TO SCHOOL: 'EXPLAINING TO KIDS WHY THEY NEED TO WEAR MASKS TO SCHOOL'

"We need to make sure we maintain herd immunity. herd immunity occurs when a good portion of population is vaccinated for preventable illnesses and when those percentages drop below a certain amount depends, you know, once the virus or the illnesses, that's when you start having the potential for outbreaks."

It's why Doctor Andrews is encouraging families to get in for their well checks before they have to worry about more than just the coronavirus.

"If we don't get caught up on some of these vaccines and until they're fully vaccinated, we could potentially see things like measles, diphtheria, whooping cough reappear, we could also potentially see flu become a big issue," she said. "We are seeing patients, we want you to come in, doing an extensive cleaning in the rooms in the lobby. So, the doctor's office has been the safest place you can come right now we really encourage you to come in."