Written by Jill Biggins Gerbracht | Photographed by Figlewicz Photography
In the midst of the current COVID-19 pandemic, keeping up with recommended
vaccines can be challenging for parents and health care professionals
alike. But we should not be so distracted by COVID-19 that we neglect
the general health and well-being of our children. Immunizations should
continue to be routine; otherwise we may soon see outbreaks of vaccine-preventable
diseases in our communities. Our Torrance Memorial Physician Network pediatric
offices are open and have adapted a range of new protocols to ensure patient
and physician safety during such visits.
Vaccination can prevent 16 serious childhood diseases, including chicken
pox, diphtheria, flu, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, Hib, HPV, measles, meningococcus,
mumps, polio, pneumococcus, rotavirus, rubella, tetanus and whooping cough,
among others. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC), for children born between 1994 and 2018, vaccination will prevent
an estimated 419 million illnesses, 26.8 million hospitalizations and
936,000 deaths over their lifetimes. But vaccines do not work unless they are used.
We are already seeing the impacts of COVID-19 related to our youngest patients
with a decline in the overall number of well-child office visits across
the nation. One of the most worrisome consequences of all, according to
the California Department of Public Health, is vaccinations for children
decreased by more than 40% compared with the same month the previous year.
“While it is understandable physician visits were down during this
particular time frame, it is vital for the ongoing health of all California
residents the trend be reversed,” says Rita Tenenbaum, MD, of Torrance
Memorial Physician Network’s Hermosa Beach pediatric office.
“It is important not to delay your child’s health care,”
she advises. “All of us at Torrance Memorial Physician Network's
pediatric offices are making sure children continue to receive all regular
scheduled care, vaccines and physical exams during this time. We have
implemented new protocols and have taken extensive safety measures to
ensure a safe visit. We encourage you to keep all your child’s well
care appointments and all routine vaccines as planned.”
It is likely we will not have a COVID-19 vaccine until 2021. In the meantime,
we have safe and effective vaccines available for many preventable diseases—but
they will only work if we use them. To prevent delays in necessary medical
care or if you have concerns, please call you pediatric office to determine
the best method to conduct an appointment.
Talk to your doctor. Get the conversation started. We are here for you!
Why You Need a Doctor Now More Than Ever
There has never been a more important time to have a primary care physician
(PCP) in your life. If you don’t already have a PCP, we strongly
recommend you seek one out sooner than later. Fall is fast approaching,
and flu season is just around the corner. With COVID-19 still prevalent
throughout Los Angeles County, having a doctor to call on when you need
one is key to your health and well-being.
A PCP will help you manage all your health care needs and help navigate
the upcoming flu season and the current ups and downs of COVID-19. It
is important to be prepared, in the event you need to call on a doctor
who knows you and can offer you the best possible care when you need it the most.
If you do not already have a PCP or pediatrician, please feel free to contact
our Physician Referral Coordinators for general questions and/or for patients
needing assistance finding a doctor at 310-891-6717.