Vaccines are a hot topic in today’s world, and misinformation about immunizations can lead to reluctancy, fear and the spread of life-threatening diseases. However, vaccines remain key to preventing lethal illnesses, and are unequivocally important to the well-being of individuals, families and communities.
Associate Medical Director for pediatrics Dr. Kavita Gajjar, M.D. has been working as a pediatrician at Lone Star Circle of Care in Austin for over five years. She calls immunizations the “bread and butter” of pediatrics, and uses her faith in science and medicine to help parents understand risks and protect their children from horrific diseases.
“Vaccines are important, there’s no doubt about it. It keeps everyone in the family healthy from babies to teen school children, the elderly in the family and older adults. It prevents serious diseases in our communities,” Dr. Gajjar said.
Welcoming both insured and uninsured patients, Lone Star Circle of Care recommends all childhood immunizations, as well as the COVID-19 vaccine. Though vaccines are vital to a child’s health, Dr. Gajjar said it is not uncommon for parents to feel apprehensive or nervous about immunizations, especially when it is time for a baby to get their first shots.
“I think most parents that do have a hesitation, it’s not coming from a bad place. It’s coming from a place of protection that they want the best for their babies,” Dr. Gajjar said.
Lone Star Circle of Care’s pediatricians are well-versed and knowledgeable about every vaccine, thus able to address any concerns that parents may have at their child’s visit. A mother herself, Dr. Gajjar said she works with parents to build mutual respect and understanding for the baby’s best interest.
Dr. Gajjar said as a mother first and pediatrician second, she would never recommend something for another child that she has not already done to protect her own. To make young patients more comfortable, Lone Star Circle of Care’s pediatricians play fun and interactive games to distract from the brief pain of a vaccine.
“When my babies had their first set of vaccines, as a mother, it was hard to see shots going into my baby’s legs and then crying,” Dr. Gajjar said. “But as a pediatrician, I knew the importance of it.”
Lone Star Circle of Care also recommends a yearly flu shot for children and adults. Though the vaccine does not prevent contracting the flu, it lessens the chances of having moderate to severe symptoms that could turn into pneumonia and possibly be fatal.
Flu season corresponds with back to school season—it begins in September, but typically peaks in November, December and January. Dr. Gajjar said the ideal time to get the flu vaccine is in September or October.
“Getting sick is not bad or taboo. It’s a way we exercise our immune systems, but if we can minimize the illnesses that are really, really bad—that cause kids to end up in hospitals or even worse, be fatal, I mean why not? It’s preventable,” Dr. Gajjar said.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Gajjar said some parents of patients have been tentative about coming back into the clinic, and their children are behind on important immunizations as a result.
“It’s not just vaccines. If you’re coming to see the doctor, you’re coming to see us for a lot of things. We talk about nutrition, school and even psychosocial behavior” Dr. Gajjar said. “It’s time to get back on track with routine and preventative care.”
Lone Star Circle of Care is a federally qualified health center with a variety of services, including behavioral health, dental care, family medicine, senior care, vision care, women’s health services and more. It has 27 locations across Central Texas, as well as telehealth options.
Interested in learning more about Lone Star Circle of Care? Head to their website www.lonestarcares.org to read about services offered, find a provider and schedule a visit. You can also call (877) 800-5722 to schedule an appointment to receive your flu vaccine now.
The above story was produced by Community Impact's Storytelling team with information solely provided by the local business as part of their "sponsored content" purchase through our advertising team. Our integrity promise to our readers is to clearly identify all CI Storytelling posts so they are separate from the content decided upon, researched and written by our journalism department.