August was National Immunization Awareness Month and the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) is working to ensure that the pandemic is not followed by an increase in cases of vaccine-preventable diseases or a preventable outbreak.

The pandemic has made some parents understandably nervous about taking their children and teens to doctors’ offices while others may be out of work and therefore without health insurance.

To ease concerns about a doctor visit, OHA recommends calling to find out what precautions your provider is taking.

Many are keeping sick children separate from those who are well, limiting the number of people who can go with a child to their appointment, taking temperatures of all attending the appointment and some are providing drive-up vaccine programs.

For those who are without health insurance, the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program offers free vaccines to families who cannot afford to pay for their children’s vaccines. To find out more call 211.

Children may be eligible for health insurance through the Oregon Health Plan (OHP).

The plan is open to all children and teens younger than 19, regardless of immigration status, who meet income and other criteria.

Visit OHP.Oregon.gov to find community partners in your area.