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Doctors suggest checkups for children before going back to school

Pediatricians are urging parents to get their children their annual physical early this year.

PENNSYLVANIA, USA — Kids are playing at the park and running on beaches now but come late August, it's back to the classroom. For many kids, that also means a checkup with the doctor too.

"We already have their appointments. In fact, two of them are going next week, so they will be up to date on checkups which is great," said Ellie Verbeyst, Tobyhanna.

"It's a good time to check in and touch base, and more importantly, how did kiddo do the last 400 plus days? Yes, we see they are growing up, but emotionally are they OK? How did they process the pandemic? How did they process going from school to half and half, wearing a mask?" said Dr. Victor Catania, Lehigh Valley Health Network.

Dr. Catania is a doctor in family medicine. He says it's important for parents to ask these questions before sending their children back to school.

Right now, only children 12 and older are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, and just this week, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that all children, regardless of vaccination status, wear a mask.

"We know that wearing a mask is a great way to prevent transmission of this virus amongst ourselves, and more importantly, so a child at school who is exposed doesn't bring it home and give it to mom and dad. We can't stay and know what is going on in everyone's homes," said Dr. Catania.

Parents Newswatch 16 spoke to say they're not wasting any time getting their kids to the doctor before the upcoming school year—especially as COVID-19 restrictions and safety measures ease.

"Yes, if they haven't, they better get it done soon because I am sure parents will be anxious to get it done before they go to school," said Sue Rich, Tobyhanna.

Doctors at Lehigh Valley Health Network tell us they are keeping an eye on when the COVID-19 vaccine might be available for kids under 12.

Right now, Pfizer said data for children ages 5 to 11 could come sometime in September.