Although the traditional school year is looking quite different this year, pediatricians still recommend staying up-to-date with vaccinations and well visits, regardless of stay at home learning, according to a news release from Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital.
“Many pediatric patients postponed the well visits in the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Gina Song, MD, pediatrician with Northwestern Medicine Regional Medical Group in South Elgin. “We encourage patients to call the offices now and not to wait.”
As school districts are planning for the upcoming school year and enforcing vaccine requirements and well visits, pediatricians have seen an increased demand for office visits over the last few weeks. Northwestern Medicine has a number of safety measures in place to keep office visits safe at this time, including temperature checks and readily available hand sanitizer.
“Delaying vaccines and well visits can be a significant burden on pediatric patients,” says Dr. Song. “If a child doesn’t get their vaccinations by the time school starts, they may be at risk for getting preventable diseases.”
The Illinois Department of Public Health requires a number of vaccines for children in preschool as well as kindergarten through 12th grade. Some of the most common vaccines are polio, measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) and chickenpox (varicella). A complete list is available here.
Although some parents remain uncertain about vaccines, Dr. Song stresses that the benefits of vaccines far outweigh the possible side effects.
“The vaccines prevent diseases that have high morbidity and mortality rates,” she said. “All vaccines can cause a local reaction such as redness, swelling and discomfort. Occasionally, systemic reactions such as fever and malaise can occur. Not everyone experiences these reactions.”
For children who are uninsured or on Medicaid, the Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital Vaccine Clinic offers free vaccines three Thursdays and one Saturday each month. The clinic is currently taking appointments and recommends scheduling one as soon as possible.
Free flu shots will also be available to children in the fall. To schedule an appointment for a free vaccination, call 630-208-3999. The clinic is located at 300 Randall Road, Geneva.