Pediatricians across the country are witnessing continued disruption of long-established schedules for wellness checks and vaccines recommended during childhood and adolescence.
“It’s very important to make sure kids are caught up on vaccines and well visits,” says Dr. Christoph Diasio, a pediatrician who has been practicing at Sandhills Pediatrics for 20 years. “It’s really important that we protect as many kids as we can not only from COVID-19 but from tetanus, pertussis, HPV, and the other multitude of diseases that vaccines have made preventable.”
Sandhills Pediatrics has continued to offer wellness checks and sick visits throughout the pandemic, modifying check-in and waiting procedures at its Southern Pines, Seven Lakes and Raeford clinics.
For established patients, Sandhills Pediatrics also offers an in-house telemedicine service. Patients can set up virtual appointments with specific providers for both physical and mental healthcare.
Exam rooms, where providers have continued to offer sports physicals, mental health screenings, and preventative care, have also been outfitted with filtration systems to improve air quality and better protect against airborne illnesses.
“We do think it’s safe for people to come to the office,” Dr. Diasio says, “and it’s important that Sandhills Pediatric providers continue to check young patients for milestones and keep them on a recommended vaccine schedule. As we fight the COVID pandemic and enter another flu season, we do not want to risk seeing a resurgence of measles or other preventable childhood diseases.”
As the pandemic continues, Dr. Diasio says Sandhills Pediatrics has seen an uptick in positive COVID cases — particularly among children, who appear to be more susceptible to the Delta variant.
Sandhills Pediatrics offers coronavirus vaccines not only for children, but for the caregivers who bring them to the office.
According to Dr. Diasio, about 30 percent of the 3,111 vaccines administered by Sandhills Pediatrics have been to parents and grandparents.
“It is so clear that COVID vaccines are highly, highly effective at keeping people out of the hospital, and we really want everyone to be protected as quickly as possible,” Dr. Diaso says.
“If you are in a car crash, or an accident, or experience something else that requires hospitalization and the hospital is full of COVID patients, it’s going to be hard for you to get in and be seen. That’s what really scares doctors.”
COVID vaccines are now available at Sandhills Pediatrics for ages 12 and up and family members.
“We hope people get vaccinated as quickly as possible, whether it is at our office, the pharmacy or the health department,” Dr. Diasio says.
Vaccines are also available via the Moore County Health Department and many local pharmacies; find a nearby vaccine provider at myspot.nc.gov.
“All the data we have says that the benefits of the COVID-19 vaccine outweighs any potential risks,” Dr. Diasio says. “If you have questions about the vaccines, it’s so critical that you talk to your doctor.”
For information about vaccinations for your child or to schedule a wellness visit, visit SandhillsPeds.com or call the Southern Pines office at (910) 692-2444 or the Seven Lakes office at (910) 673-1600.