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Skipping doctor? Not a good idea even in a pandemic. | READER COMMENTARY

A nurse prepares to administer a flu vaccination shot to a woman at a free clinic held at a local library on Oct. 14, 2020 in Lakewood, California. Medical experts are hoping the flu shot this year will help prevent a 'twindemic'- an epidemic of influenza paired with a second wave of COVID-19 which could lead to overwhelmed hospitals amid the coronavirus pandemic.
A nurse prepares to administer a flu vaccination shot to a woman at a free clinic held at a local library on Oct. 14, 2020 in Lakewood, California. Medical experts are hoping the flu shot this year will help prevent a 'twindemic'- an epidemic of influenza paired with a second wave of COVID-19 which could lead to overwhelmed hospitals amid the coronavirus pandemic. (Mario Tama/Getty Images North America/TNS)

There’s a mixed message in the recent opinion piece, (“Skip the doctor and head to the pharmacist for a vaccine,” Oct. 28). Heading to the pharmacist for a vaccine makes sense for many situations. I recently got my annual flu shot at my local pharmacy. It was quick, convenient and carried out very professionally. However, the first bit of advice to “skip the doctor” may not be so sound. During the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a marked decline in primary care provider visits leading to a sharp decrease in screenings for breast, colon, prostate and lung cancer, potentially resulting in poorer clinical outcomes and an increase in preventable cancer deaths.

There has also been a significant drop in child wellness visits. These are important not only to keep up with recommended vaccination schedules, but also to ensure that screening and monitoring of growth and development are carried out and that behavior and mental health concerns are addressed.

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Primary care practices have taken a number of steps to ensure safe office visits. If age appropriate, go to your pharmacist for a vaccination, but don’t hold off on seeing your doctor.

Dr. Beryl Rosenstein, Pikesville

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