October 19, 2020
Did I really get into a vaccine debate on Facebook with the COVID-19 Pediatric Group? Yes I did. I couldn’t keep my big mouth shut. I left my comments there because they are actually really important. Someone was complaining about pharmacies giving out flu shots to kids, and I disagreed. I think kids should get their flu shot wherever they are available, and I think they should get other vaccines as well. Sometimes when I shoot my mouth off, I’ll go back and delete comments. But I left these up despite the controversy. And those that feel the same way as I do and are looking at the “big picture” in terms of vaccine rates need to see the comment. But I MUTED a bunch of the repliers. Wow, gotta love Facebook that you can MUTE people. The crux of the issue is that some pediatricians want vaccines only given in their office. I get it. They are actually reimbursed quite a bit for vaccines and well child visits and vaccines are 60% of pediatric outpatient volume. I work in an integrated healthcare system and I don’t need to think about my reimbursements and patient volume. I’m always busy. I do procedures. If pharmacies and dental offices and others give out vaccines, what are pediatricians going to do? It threatens their livelihood and is an existential threat to some of their identity. They believe they are dispensing wonderful advice and care during well child visits. Kids should 100% come in for well child visits. But the truth is they are not coming in for vaccines right now, and they need their vaccines. My take on things is that it’s about the patient. We need to admit when we are supposedly painting things as “for the patient” when it’s really “for us.” I don’t believe it. Then see sick kids! You can start siphoning off work from the urgent cars and EDs. We can start seeing up to 21 years of age. Or stop referring to dermatology or all the specialist, and learn to work up patients more thoroughly for bread and butter stuff. Oh, open up a Headache Clinic! Start training to do bread and butter mental health issues, as we don’t have enough pediatric psychiatrist. Put in implantable birth control. Or go pick up some trash. Trust me, there is enough work for everyone. Their business and livelihood is not my problem. I’m looking at the big picture which is increasing plummeting vaccine rates in the country. It felt so good to MUTE the said person. Flu Vaccines absolutely should be given at pharmacies and I believe HPV should as well, and maybe even dental offices. Why not? If pediatrics can’t survive without vaccines, than what are we? I’m pretty sure we are smart enough and versatile enough to pivot.