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Utah doctors urge parents to catch children up on vaccines, checkups delayed due to pandemic

Posted at 5:20 PM, Apr 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-27 19:20:06-04

SALT LAKE CITY — An estimated one-third of Utah’s children are behind on routine vaccinations and check-ups because of the pandemic.

During the earliest months of the pandemic, hospitals and doctors in Utah asked parents to put off childhood wellness checks and vaccines. Now, it’s time to come back.

“Many of our families kind of paused their well-child [visit] last year because of concerns around exposure to COVID,” said Intermountain Healthcare Pediatrics Dr. Donna Barhorst.

The American Academy of Pediatrics reports that a “significant drop” in doctor visits resulted in delays in childhood vaccinations and screenings.

Barhorst is concerned it could result in secondary outbreaks with vaccine-preventable illnesses.

“It really is important that we vaccinate our kids. We have been able to eliminate many of these childhood diseases, but if we stop vaccinating, they will resurge,” she said.

Dr. Barhorst expects children 12 and over will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine by this summer. However, she says that can’t happen until a child is up to date on other immunizations.

“Use this window of opportunity to kind of catch up if your child has not been seen in the last year," she advised.

When those appointments are scheduled, pediatricians recommend they should be in person whenever possible.