Doctors Urge Parents To Get Kids Vaccinated Before First Day of School

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There is a push from medical leaders to get students their vaccinations before the first day of school.

Doctors say the best window of opportunity to get immunizations is now ahead of a new school year.

"These things that very critical for kids so when they go back to school, we don't encounter a different type of pandemic," said Dr. Juan Salazar, physician chief with Connecticut Children's. "We want to make sure that students have all the correct vaccinations especially with positivity rates hovering over .6 percent."

Dr. Robert Dudley is the president of Connecticut's Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and is working with Connecticut's Department of Education.

"We don't need a pandemic with COVID-19 and an outbreak of influenza or measles or another vaccine-preventable disease," said Dr. Dudely. "The state saw a dramatic decline in the number of vaccines that practices were ordering."

Dudely pointed to the fact that many practices closed down earlier in the spring which resulted in many children not getting vaccines and provided some hesitation for families looking to come in to get vaccinations.

"We are trying to take all the precautions to give parents and our younger patients peace of mind," said Dudley. "We are making sure to check everyone's temperature, provide hand sanitizer, and give everyone a mask before they come into the office."

Medical experts say that many health practices may offer accommodations to help students.

"I think you'll see some practices extending their hours," said Dudley. "We're trying to prioritize kids that need their forms and get them scheduled into the office as fast as we can."

As the fall approaches, there are growing concerns about the potential of a flu outbreak.

"We know in the next couple of months people are going to need their flu shots so we don't want to adopt a policy that incentivizes folks to use telehealth over in-person care," said Susan Halpin with the Connecticut Association of Health Plans.

"This year more than ever I want to emphasize to parents that influenza vaccinations are absolutely critical," said Dr. Salazar. "We don't want to come into November and December with potentially a resurgence of coronavirus and in the midst of that have a very difficult influenza season.

Dudely said that all mandated immunizations are free of charge for students to receive.

Urgent care locations are another resource readily available for families who may need summer physicals ahead of the new school year.

PhysicianOne Urgent Care issued this statement to NBC Connecticut:

"At the start of each season, schools and most recreational activities require a physical before students can participate or attend. PhysicianOne Urgent Care provides walk-in physicals for school, sports or camp at all 16 locations in Connecticut.

"Typically there are two parts to a school physical; a review of the patient’s medical history and the physical exam. This physical exam, conducted by our professional, experienced providers, helps determine whether it is safe for a child to participate in these types of activities. For safety and convenience, patients can also check-in online and find a time to be seen that works with the family’s busy schedules.

The Department of Education also released their response emphasizing the need for students to get their immunizations, for more information, click here.

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