This post was sponsored by Unity™ Consortium as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.
Next month, I will have been a mother for 21 years. I can’t believe it either, but here I am. My oldest child had 8 years of my attention and he relinquished that when his first sibling came on the scene. She’s about to turn 13 years old and I realize that with the addition of HER younger siblings who will be 11, I’ve become a bit lax in staying as on top of well-visits as I did with their big brother.
However, in 2019 after the death of my brother, I had a LOT of time to focus on everything that was important. It was this hyperfocus that had me remembering that my bottom three (a term of endearment for the three youngest children) hadn’t been to their well visits in a while. It was at that time, when I called, that I was informed that our pediatrician had gone ahead and retired like she said she was going to do and I hadn’t been there to wish her well.
Anyway, we caught up on our vaccinations – and we were behind by quite a bit – during the very beginning of the pandemic. It made me feel quite guilty because I had their vaccine cards from infancy and they were full! Everything was done in the timeframe that it needed to be, and we were ON IT. I was and still am a relaxed vaccinator. My children received them all, but not all at one visit, and that was a plan that our pediatrician and I came up with with my oldest. I totally believe in the science of it all, I just didn’t want to have my children go through three or four different vaccinations in one visit.
After voicing those concerns as a 20-year-old mother, their doctor let me know that the number of visits would increase each year, but we could DEFINITELY work around my schedule. That made me love her, and in doing that I was way more open to listening to her expertise surrounding new vaccines for our 12-year-old and soon-to-be tweens.
Last year, during our adolescent well visit, we discussed all of the things that would be happening soon and got fully caught up on vaccinations for all three. To my surprise, there weren’t many to take, and we left feeling as okay as one would during a well child visit in the midst of a pandemic.
I want my children to have the chance to become adults, and if there are things that I can do to help that along, I will. I believe that vaccines against preventable diseases is the way to go for me. We’ve researched, we’ve spoken to our medical providers, and we’ve pushed back when not fully comfortable with
Adolescent Well Visits During a Pandemic
As a mom of four, scheduling well visits BEFORE March 2020 was a bit of a headache. Trying to nail down a time that was both convenient AND open was the extent of my problems. Throw a pandemic in there and things get interesting to say the least.
When you and your doctors have to take extra precautions with how many people can be waiting in the office at once, and how many of your children can come to the office at a time, it’s not fun.
It’s no secret that well visits keep teens healthy. Adolescents receive time-sensitive screenings and immunizations during their well visits. The current decline in immunization rates has resulted in increasing susceptibility to vaccine-preventable illness. This gap is even more pronounced for vulnerable populations including minority and lower-income families.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, adolescents and young adults well visit and vaccination rates have dropped dramatically. Concerns about spreading COVID-19, schools going virtual, and the reduced need for sports physicals paused routine in-person health care visits. Rates have begun to rebound; but a significant gap remains, especially for adolescents.
We live in a time and place where none of this should be.
I know that most parents were on the ball when their children were infants and toddlers, but there’s something about this tween/teen age that throws us for a loop.
The CDC recommends vaccines to protect against serious illnesses including meningitis (2 vaccines), cancers caused by HPV, whooping cough, and flu. These routine immunizations are important to keep adolescents healthy. Vaccines may be needed for adolescents to return to in-person activities such as sports, summer camps, and school.
We acknowledge the hesitancy to schedule well visits during this time due to safety concerns, misinformation, and well, Uncle Troy’s conspiracy theories on social media. We can definitely do our part to make sure that returning to places like school in person and summer camp is as seamless as we can make it on our end. Even though the houseful of littles homeschools, we still visit museums and other spaces with brick and mortar schoolers and we want to be able to do so safely.
Pledge to Schedule Adolescent Well Visits
Unity is a non-profit organization that unites diverse groups around a common passion – the imperative to protect adolescents and young adults against all vaccine-preventable diseases to support lifelong health.
The Don’t Wait. Vaccinate. campaign supports Unity’s overall mission.
We along with Unity want you to do thes three things
- Schedule your adolescent’s wellness visits now
- Stay on schedule for vaccinations
- Stay connected with your healthcare professional