With COVID now common in kids, even routine childhood vaccinations remain behind schedule

“COVID is out there,” said Sheyanga Beecher, a nurse practitioner for Hennepin Healthcare. “It’s a part of our every day, but at the same time, these numbers tell me, because it is out there, we need to rethink what normal is.”

For Beecher, who is also program director for Hennepin Healthcare’s Pediatric Mobile Health Unit, that means rethinking mobile options to take wellness checks and immunizations on the road to better reach kids.

“This unit serves kids from newborn all the way through teenager and young adult,” Beecher said.

The idea for the mobile unit began early in the pandemic. Many parents were skipping well-child visits due to COVID concerns, which led to a different kind of concern for Dr. Dawn Martin.

“We saw rates of childhood vaccinations declining and we didn’t want to a see whooping cough or a measles outbreak in the setting of a pandemic,” said Martin, Medical director for the mobile unit. “So we knew we had to get vaccinations out in the community and meet our patients where they were.”