Summer changed to autumn, and a fresh chill is in the air as the planet fights COVID-19. Except in a pandemic, the flu season comes with this move. One concern for the patient’s health as physician assistants (PA) (including pain physicians) is that many would forego regular health checks or other preventative treatment because they avoid medical settings.
Two-thirds of parents are reluctant to take their children in for vaccinations, according to a national study released in August by Orlando Health, despite the fact that 84% of those parents consider vaccines important for protecting their kids from numerous illnesses. The parents and all other patients are encouraged to prioritize vaccines. Even if we are rightfully concentrating on the dangers that the COVID-19 pandemic presents to our health, we must not ditch our battle against other diseases preventable by vaccines.
Because of a mixture of social distancing, lockdowns, and intense caution, vaccination rates have already dropped dramatically during this pandemic. The drop in childhood immunization rates is particularly concerning. For example, NYC, which got a hard virus hit in March and April, announced a 91% drop in vaccinations for children over the age of two in the 2 months following the shutdown’s start.
The normal strategies for distributing flu vaccines will be affected this year because the flu season coincides with COVID-19. Previously, there were several convenient ways for the public to get flu vaccines, such as at a pharmacy that offered walk-in flu shots or during a health appointment with a primary care supplier. However, since people’s daily habits and attitudes have changed, having flu shots may require a little more thought and effort. It may be inconvenient, but it is more necessary than ever.
Our health system is not capable of meeting the expense of a vaccine-preventable illness or a flu season outbreak that is worse than normal. We all owe it to each other to stay up to date with our immunizations and to ring a bell for friends and family to do that. Still, there is an important role of personal assistance. In the United States, there are over 140,000 PAs working in every state, in every medical specialty and setting. 50% of PAs have diagnosed and treated COVID-19 patients, according to studies from the American Academy of PAs. Being on the front lines for months, we’re dedicated to encouraging patients and the general public to get flu shots.
The healthcare system will confront never seen before obstacles in the future. We know, however, that the flu will again hit this year like always, and it is best interests as a person and as a country to battle it with one of the most powerful tools we have: the flu vaccine.
At Oklahoma Pain Doc, we are always at the service of our patients. Contact our pain physicians when you are in need.
**Disclaimer: This content should not be considered medical advice and does not imply a doctor-patient relationship.