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Call The Doctor If Your Kid Feels Sick, But Go In For Vaccinations

A nurse applies a bandage after administering vaccines. (Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
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L.A. County's health clinics have remade themselves in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, including those that treat kids.

They've cut in-person pediatric visits by more than 80%, and are now using telemedicine for most appointments.

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L.A. County's Department of Health Services Director of Pediatric Services Shannon Thyne says their clinics have cut in-person visits more than 80% and use telemedicine for most appointments.

"It's doing what we would normally do over the phone, as safely and efficiently as possible," Thyne said.


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Thyne does have a few concerns. One is parents delaying in-person visits for children who need medical attention.

"I've seen a couple of kids who needed stitches, but were afraid to come in, and then came in too late to get the stitches placed," Thyne said.

The L.A. County health clinics are taking additional precautions- sick and well kids come in through different entrances, doctors wear masks and they're offered to patients at the door.

Thyne encourages only one caregiver to accompany the sick child and leave siblings at home.

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The clinic's practices are in line with recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics. The Washington Post reported some practices are struggling to adapt to these changes.

"I think it's really important to make sure that you get care when you need it," Thyne said. "But it's also fine to call and see if it's possible to defer the visit."


One visit Thyne doesn't want parents to cancel are vaccines for babies and young children.

"I'm worried that we will miss enough children that we will start to see more cases of things like pertussis which we certainly have seen in the past in California," Thyne said.

Annie Hilo of Santa Monica is on board. She and her family haven't left their Santa Monica condo except to walk their dog in a month, but in May they'll head to the pediatrician for her infant and 4-year-old sons' routine shots.

"I feel strongly that they're vaccinated, so I'm going to make those appointments," Hilo said. "I think if you have vaccinations that you can provide for your children so you can avoid preventable diseases, you should 100% do it."

But when her infant son Alex started wheezing, she consulted her pediatrician over video instead of going to the office in person. He's since started breathing much easier.