DHS & Wisconsin Pediatricians Say Now is the Time to Catch Kids Up on Vaccines & Well-Child Visits
FROM THE WISCONSIN DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH SERVICES
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) has joined the Wisconsin Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (WIAAP) to urge families to make sure their children are up to date on well-child visits and vaccinations.
“In 2020, there was a significant drop in clinic visits. This resulted in delays in vaccinations, screenings, referrals, and general guidance to keep families healthy,” said Dr. Sarah Campbell, WIAAP president.
While many doctors adapted through telehealth and took steps to make sure patients weren’t exposed to COVID-19, the decline in the number of office visits and routine vaccinations is alarming and could have long-ranging impacts on a child’s health and the health of the community.
Wellness visits for children should be scheduled with a child’s doctor regularly from birth through age three, then yearly after that. Different vaccinations are given at different times as a child grows. Medical providers and local public health departments are encouraged to follow the CDC vaccine schedule for optimal protection. Guidance is available in English and Spanish.
Falling behind on vaccinations leaves children vulnerable to preventable diseases like influenza, measles, and whooping cough.
Dr. Stephanie Schauer, DHS Immunization Program Director says, “As a parent, I know firsthand that families continue to face a lot of challenges during the pandemic. Because so many kids have missed their vaccinations, we need to do all we can to get our children up to date. Even if your child missed a vaccination, they can still catch up.”
You can check your child’s vaccination status on the Wisconsin Immunization Registry or by calling 608-266-9691.
Other resources for families include:
- Health care coverage available through BadgerCare Plus and Wisconsin Medicaid
- Free transportation to medical appointments
- Food pantries and nonprofit organizations to assist with food and access to other services
To further encourage families to get their children in for checkups and vaccines, DHS, WIAAP, and Medicaid Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) have launched a social media campaign. The “Keeping Our Children, Our Families, and Our Communities Strong” messages are geared toward rural, Black, and Spanish-speaking families.
The project was funded through a grant from the Georgetown Center for Children and Families and the American Academy of Pediatrics, “Keeping Kids Connected to Care During COVID-19 and Beyond.”
Learn more about what vaccinations your child needs on the DHS Immunization Program webpage. You can also and follow @DHSWI on Facebook, Twitter, or dhs.wi on Instagram.