When the state shut down all non-emergency medical treatments while communities worked to contain COVID-19, some well-child visits were missed as well.
Those visits are vital for keeping children age 2 and older up-to-date on vaccines for mumps, measles, rubella and other diseases that are highly contagious, said Ellie Millan, a Mosaic Medical pediatric medical director and nurse practitioner.
For school-age children, vaccine records fall under the school nurse's realm of responsibility. School nurses must often check these records and maintain them, Millan said.
In some instances, it was a question of fear from parents who didn't want to unnecessarily expose their children to the coronavirus, Millan said. Now, Mosaic and other clinics have segregated ill children from sick inside the clinics. Separate waiting rooms, separate entrances and exits.
They also only allow one parent/caregiver to go into an exam room with a child.
"I use COVID-19 as an example why we need to stay up-to-date," Millan said. "It puts the vaccines into a relatable context. They see how the world is halted and how we're in this waiting period because we're waiting for a vaccine."
Parents can take their children to one of seven school-based clinics in Central Oregon to obtain immunizations. These clinics are placed on school grounds to alleviate any barriers working parents have of getting their children seen by a medical professional.
"We're still here to serve the community," Millan said. "Normally we allow walk ins, but now we're asking for appointments to keep everyone safe.