Importance of immunizations

HealthBeat

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Social distancing guidelines are meant to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Local doctors say while it is keeping people safe, it also means people aren’t coming in for important appointments.

With many people taking social distancing guidelines seriously, fewer people are leaving their homes.

Unfortunately, that’s lead to a drop in immunizations.

“We actually had some statistics from the South Dakota region that were showing almost a 50 percent decline since the start of social distancing,” Dr. Jennifer Haggar said.

While you should still practice the recommended guidelines when it comes to COVID-19, Dr. Jennifer Haggar says wellness exams shouldn’t be taken off the schedule.

“We have found that kids are doing really well with the virus in general, but I’m incredibly worried about the long term ramifications of missing the preventative health things that kids really need,” Haggar said.

In addition to immunizations, Haggar says wellness exams include a mental health check– and that’s not all.

“These visits are also a way for us to make sure that some disease process is not starting. We have pediatricians who have identified diabetes, and cancer, and all sorts of chronic conditions on a wellness exam. And so staying current with those exams is one way to make sure that it’s caught early,” Haggar said.

With two daughters under the age of three, Katelyn Conover says keeping up with their exams is a priority.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that I can’t protect my girls fully from COVID, there’s no vaccine for that. But there are a lot of things I can protect them from and anything I can do to keep them healthy and safe is exactly what I’m going to do,” Conover said.

Haggar says Sanford Health is doing everything possible to keep both patients and staff safe.
Conover experienced the safety measures firsthand a few weeks ago.

“Everything made me feel comfortable. They had screeners at the door, there were lines on the floor enabling us to tell us where we were supposed to be standing when we were checking in. We didn’t even wait in the waiting room, we were walked right back,” Conover said.

Haggar says parents who still have concerns about going to the clinic can send their provider a message through Sanford MyChart or give them a call.

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