COVID-19 Resources - Reopening Your Practice

Supporting Immunizations During COVID-19

During the COVID-19 public health emergency, vaccine rates for children in California and San Mateo County have decreased significantly. Patients and parents may be fearful of potentially exposing their children to COVID-19. However, this decline in vaccinations can leave children and the community vulnerable to vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles. If measles vaccination coverage drops below 90%-95%, measles outbreaks may occur.

Remind patients to stay on schedule

As a trusted medical authority, you can recommend that patients get their flu or pneumonia shot and that children receive their immunizations as scheduled. Here are some ways to do so safely:

  • Dedicate specific clinics, rooms or buildings for well child/immunization visits. Be sure to disinfect exam rooms in between visits and your clinic twice daily.
  • Separate well visits from sick visits by appointment times, e.g., AM vs. PM.
  • Organize drive-thru visits for immunizations; while patients wait in their cars, use text messaging or phone calls to screen and prepare for immunization.
  • If you have limited capacity, CDPH currently recommends providers prioritize newborn care and vaccination of infants and young children (through 24 months of age)  

Explain to patients why vaccines are important

The following educational methods can help you support the message that immunizations save lives.

  • Play educational videos, or short snippets, for patients while waiting in the exam room for their provider
  • Place wall posters in the exam room that promote immunization during pregnancy
  • Use testimonials by sharing real life stories, or connecting patients with peers who have been immunized. Talking about a friend who was bedridden for days with a 103 degree fever is more vivid than saying “the flu can cause fever.”
  • Inform parents that catching up later may not be so easy. When California “reopens,” there may be many children who need to catch up on immunizations. This will increase wait times for appointments. While waiting, they could be exposed to dangerous vaccine-preventable diseases circulating in the community. Avoid that danger by keeping their child’s immunizations on track.

For more information

Please refer to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) for full guidance and other suggestions: