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
“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
For more information about
Vaccine For Children click here.