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COVID-19 pandemic delays some routine vaccinations and check-ups for children

Posted at 6:43 PM, Aug 08, 2020

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Buffalo Pediatric Associates never closed during COVID-19, but there was a time when they weren't doing many routine check-ups.

“There was a phase where we weren’t doing very many physicals because people were afraid to come into the doctor unless they absolutely had to," said Dr. Rachel Kaufman.

Now, more patients are starting to return, but Kaufman said she's seen a 13% drop in wellness check-ups compared to this time last year. She said most of those check-ups do include vaccinations. She estimates that's led to a ten percent drop in children that are fully up to date on vaccines compared to this time last year.

"That's not good, that's not what we want," she said.

In New York City, administered vaccines fell by 63% from late March to early May, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio.

The Erie County Health Department said it does not have weekly statistics on administered vaccines. The department said there was a drop in doctors visits, including to pediatricians, at points during the NY Pause Order.

The school year is quickly approaching. New York State requires vaccinations for children to attend school, unless they have a medical exemption.

Dr. Kaufman said one of her greatest concerns is getting children under two years old immunized.

“Many families who have any kinds of means to do so are opting not to send their children to daycare or preschool, and so they don’t have the same kinds of deadlines that they’re facing to be up to date for immunizations," Dr. Kaufman said.

The weeks leading up to September are always busy for pediatricians, the trend is just more exaggerated this summer. Dr. Kaufman said all patients who need vaccines will get them, even if there's no appointments for a routine physical.

The Erie County Health Department said that it is especially important, this fall, for kids to remain healthy. They said parents should call their pediatricians now to get appointments scheduled.