By Laura Bledsoe, MD, pediatrician at The Portland Clinic.
Oregon’s children are falling behind in their vaccinations, according to the Oregon Health Authority. Much of this lag may be due to parents’ worries about taking their kids to doctors’ offices right now. If you share these concerns, please rest assured: The Portland Clinic is taking extensive measures to make sure that you and your children can visit your pediatrician safely.
While it’s always important for kids to stay up to date on their vaccines, it is especially important right now. It may be a while before we have a vaccine for COVID-19, and in the meantime, we want to protect children from as many preventable diseases as we possibly can. It would be a double tragedy if the coronavirus pandemic also caused a rise in preventable childhood diseases.
Even if your kids aren’t due for vaccinations, continuing with their regular well checks is vital to their well-being. These visits give us a chance to talk about their general health, nutrition, exercise and sleep habits. They’re also an opportunity to discover any hearing or vision problems, anxiety or depression, struggles with school performance or other issues that could be eased with further evaluation and support.
During the pandemic, our pediatricians are seeing patients only in our Beaverton office. If your children usually go to our Tigard clinic location, we apologize for the inconvenience. Your pediatrician will be happy to see you at our Beaverton location.
Here’s how we’re keeping pediatric visits safe
- Our Beaverton pediatric wing has its own door — families never have to wait in the waiting room. Just call the phone number posted by the pediatric door to check in, then ring the doorbell, and one of our staff members will come to invite you in.
- All patients and visitors have their temperatures taken at the door and are asked screening questions before coming inside.
- To reduce exposure, we now allow only one parent or guardian to accompany children on their visits.
- Another way we’re reducing exposure is by separating sick visits and well visits. Mornings and early afternoons are set aside for children who have no infectious diseases; then we switch to “sick” visits in the late afternoon.
- Our Beaverton clinic has a special negative-pressure room where we can see children with fevers. This type of isolation room is designed to contain airborne particles and reduce the spread of infections.
- All of our providers and staff members wear masks, shields and gloves for all patient interactions.
- After appointments, families leave through a separate exit, so they do not come into contact with other patients entering the building.
- We offer video visits for some types of appointments for families who are worried about coming in.
The Portland Clinic takes your family’s health and safety very seriously. Providing timely vaccinations and checkups are two important ways that we help protect your children’s health. Making sure that you have a safe place to bring your children for their care is another. Our pediatricians are here for you, and we look forward to seeing you!
NOTE: Losing your insurance doesn’t mean your kids have to go without vaccinations
Many Oregon families today are dealing with job and insurance losses. The Vaccines for Children program offers free childhood vaccinations for families who can’t afford them. Call 211 to learn about this program and other great resources for assistance.