A third of children have healthcare delayed during pandemic


ABC News


Doctor Anthea Rhodes, from the Royal Children’s Hospital, is explaining the importance of getting kids vaccinated as normal during the pandemic, as well as undertaking normal health care needs addressed.


“In our survey of over 2,000 Australian parents, about three and a half thousand children, about a third of children who have been injured or unwell during the pandemic have had their healthcare delayed by a parent,” Dr Rhodes said.


One in five children under the age of five years has had a routine vaccine delayed since the onset of the pandemic in March.


“The main reason parents gave for delaying care was fear or concern about their child or themselves catching COVID-19 in a healthcare facility or service.


“It is very important that we acknowledge, of course, parents’ concerns when it comes to health and well-being their children, and also recognise that they are working incredibly hard to keep their children and their families safe. 


“But at the same time, to reinforce the message that healthcare facilities are safe places for families to access care for their children and that they should not delay accessing care in the event that their child needs to be seen.”


Dr Rhodes said that there was a misunderstanding that, because children are not interacting with each other, the preventable illnesses will simply not affect children.


She said that was not the right way to look at things and that risks herd immunity for those diseases coming down.


“It is important that families realise that in fact, if we do not keep our kids up to date with their routine vaccines, when we do return to face-to-face learning, which we hope is not too far away, and children go back to childcare environments and the like, that those children who are not up to date with vaccines will be at risk of contracting vaccine preventable diseases, and that is things like hooping cough, measles, chickenpox.


“The last thing we want to see off the back of the coronavirus pandemic is outbreaks of these other preventable diseases.”


Dr Rhodes said that outside of vaccinations, telehealth was an option for families who did not want to attend, with 60 per cent of appointments at the Royal being made by teleheath.

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