Although it will likely be months to years before a COVID-19 vaccine becomes available, it is important for all Texans to receive their recommended standard vaccinations on time to prevent additional infectious disease outbreaks.
But with so many changes in place because of the COVID-19 pandemic, how can physicians and other health care professionals best administer vaccinations safely?
To help answer that question, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently produced interim guidance for administering vaccines during a pandemic.
- Reduce crowding in waiting rooms by asking patients to remain outside (e.g., stay in their vehicles, if applicable) until they are called into the facility for their appointment, or by setting up triage booths to screen patients safely;
- Schedule appointments for sick patients at different times of the day than for routine checkups and well-child visits; and
- Collaborate with physicians and other health care professionals in the community to identify separate locations for providing well visits for children.
The guidance also offers recommendations to address the decline in vaccinations caused by the pandemic, including assessing the vaccination status of children, adolescents, and adults, at each visit.
Because pediatric visits for vaccination have been especially affected, CDC recommends physicians identify patients who may have missed their well-child visit and contact them to schedule appointments.
“This guidance will be continually reassessed and updated based on the evolving epidemiology of COVID-19 in the United States,” CDC said on its website. “Health care providers who administer vaccines should also consult guidance from state, local, tribal, and territorial health officials.”
In addition, CDC has updated its website to include answers to frequently asked questions (FAQ) about the 2020-21 flu season. The FAQ includes answers to questions such as:
- Will a flu vaccine protect me against COVID-19? and
- Is COVID-19 more dangerous than flu?
The Texas Medical Association has created a CME course, Talk to Your Patients About: Vaccine-Preventable Diseases, designed to help you understand the diseases vaccines prevent so you have better information when speaking with patients.
The course is part of TMA’s ongoing Talk to Your Patients multimedia campaign, which gives you tools, information, and resources to help you discuss vaccinations with patients. The series cover vaccine-preventable diseases and common vaccination myths.
Stay up to date with the latest news, resources, and government guidance on the coronavirus outbreak by visiting TMA’s COVID-19 Resource Center regularly.