COVID-19 and the future of vaccinations

September 11, 2020

Dr. Tina Tan addresses the recent change that allows pharmacists to administer vaccinations to pediatric patients.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, we are learning more about the various ways that the infection can manifest and the significant mental health impact that it is having on the pediatric population. There are various dermatologic manifestations that are unique to COVID-19 that the practicing clinicians should be aware of. These manifestations are discussed in the cover story of this issue by Dr Bellodi Schmidt and Ms Vivien Chen.

Other articles that are must-reads include:

  • The respiratory section study on how primary care providers are the key to tobacco prevention in teenagers. This is extremely important, given the increasing number of teenagers that vape, especially during the pandemic.
  • The nutrition section article that reports on the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 and whether or not it had an impact on improving school lunch programs.
  • The mental/behavioral health section article in which Dr Jellinek discusses a Pediatric Symptom Checklist for pediatric health care providers to know when a child needs formal mental health services. This is a very timely article given the significant mental health impact that COVID-19 has had on children, especially those with underlying mental health issues.

Another issue that has recently come up is the US Department of Health and Human Services announcement authorizing state-licensed pharmacists to order and administer all vaccines to children and adolescents aged 3-18 years. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) came out with a statement that strongly opposes this policy change. I am in complete agreement with the AAP who stated that “this move is incredibly misguided” and that “the action supersedes state laws governing the scope of pharmacists’ ability to administer vaccines, using the COVID-19 pandemic as justification to make policy change that goes well beyond care related to COVID-19.” This policy should be a call to action for all of us that provide care to the pediatric population. Now more than ever, we need to communicate with our patients and their parents and emphasize the importance of the medical home. We need to stress that pediatric health care provider offices are open and are the best, safest, and optimal places for children to be vaccinated and for the provision of routine care, developmental and mental health screenings, anticipatory guidance and counseling about nutrition, injury prevention, and chronic disease management. This is the time for us to make a statement that we are the best providers of all things that pediatric medicine has to offer with vaccines making up a big portion of the care that we provide.

Please stay safe and well. I welcome your suggestions, comments, and questions.

With warmest regards,

Tina

Tina Q Tan,

Editor-in-Chief

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