SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Hospitals, schools, and public health agencies are preparing for increased infections of COVID-19 and the flu but health experts are warning parents to be aware of more common health diseases as well.
Skipping routine check ups and vaccinations could put kids at risk of spreading preventable diseases like measles, mumps and whooping cough. Those diseases are even more likely to spread among children in classroom and daycare settings.
The Massachusetts Association of Health Plans said they have seen a drop off in childhood vaccines especially during the spring when everyone was doing telehealth appointments. Certain physicians said they are starting to see a slight increase in preventative health visits but it’s important to remind people that doctors offices aren’t a place where people should feel at risk.
“As long as we practice being safe with a 6 foot distance and wear our masks I don’t see a problem with it.” Mack Hopper
Though we haven’t been talking about these diseases as much they can still have a severe impact.
“We know from experience and I’ve been doing this for a long time that I’ve seen kids die from measles and pertussis.” Dr. John O’Reilly
Dr. John O’Reilly, Chief of General Pediatrics said any staff or guest in their office has their temperature taken, and is required to wear a mask the whole time. In terms of in person patients he said his office currently sees about 80% of what they did before the pandemic.
“It’s great to have telehealth but we do need to get those vaccines and get all the kids who need vaccinations into the offices.”
Despite the decrease with in person doctor visits, Massachusetts currently ranks number one in the country for child and teenager vaccination rates but health officials think more needs to be done to stay on top.