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Family Medicine Clinic now approved to administer regular vaccines to children

Gunnison Valley Health’s Family Medicine Clinic is now a registered provider to administer the Vaccine For Children (VFC) program through the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Gunnison Valley Health’s Pediatrician, Charlie Hastings, D.O., said this designation means the Family Medicine Clinic can now provide regular vaccines to eligible children who are uninsured and those insured through state-funded programs such as Medicaid.

“Vaccines protect babies, young children, and adolescents from at least 15 different diseases,” Dr. Hastings said. “The VFC program helps ensure that all children have a better chance of getting their recommended vaccinations on time without cost being a barrier.”

As a physician specializing in the care of children from birth to 18 years of age in the Gunnison Valley, Hastings urged the critical importance of regular wellness visits for all ages to ensure a child’s growth and developmental milestones are monitored.

“The recommended schedule for wellness check-ups for children is 2 weeks, 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 9 months, 12 months, 15 months, 18 months, 2 years, and then annually thereafter,” Dr. Hastings said. “During this time, your child’s physical development, growth and screening for illness will be monitored as well as the opportunity to discuss and establish healthy routines and behaviors to ensure your child is developing strongly and positively. It’s also a great opportunity to stay up-to-date on recommended immunizations.”

Hastings added an annual wellness visit for healthy adolescents is equally as important as it focuses on social, mental and emotional health screening and discussion on how to support their transition towards greater independence and responsibility.

“Adolescents are facing many challenging life changes, and how they handle these challenges will set the stage for their lifelong health and well-being,” Dr. Hastings said.

“Just undertaking a sports physical is not enough,” he said. “Sports physicals are important for athletes and are designed to screen for risks of injury or illness specifically related to sports, but do not take into account parent-child relationships, social and academic issues, puberty and sexual development, mental health screening and healthy behaviors such as sleep and nutrition.”

In most cases, the sports physical can be performed in conjunction with a well adolescent visit at no extra cost. Most health insurance plans will cover preventive care services, like well child visits, so it could be beneficial to combine a sports physical with an annual wellness visit.

“As parents, our role is to support, navigate and help guide our children through many different stages of their life,” Dr. Hastings said. “Keeping on top of wellness visits and immunizations means healthier children and is a step in the right direction.”

If you do not have a primary care provider and would like to schedule your child with Pediatrician, Dr. Charlie Hastings, please contact Gunnison Valley Health’s Family Medicine Clinic at 970-642-8413..

For more information about Vaccine For Children click here.