The Alliance Urges the Public to Contact Their Doctors about Vaccines and Check-ups


Ask your primary care physician if you or your kids are due for shots and well-check visits, which remain critically important, even during COVID-19

Scotts Valley, Calif., Sep. 14, 2020 – The Central California Alliance for Health (the Alliance), the Medi-Cal managed health care plan for residents of Monterey, Merced and Santa Cruz counties, urges the public to contact their doctors and ask if they are due for vaccines and check-ups, which remain critically important for residents of all ages, even during COVID-19. Additionally, now that flu season is upon us, it’s absolutely vital for everyone 6 months and older to get the flu vaccine.

Within the Alliance service area, about half of 2-year-olds are up-to-date on all of their vaccines. However, the rates for Merced County are lower – only 1 in 5 toddlers is protected. Slightly better though still worrisome is that just over half of 13-year-olds in the tri-county region are current on their shots. While most parents know that infants need frequent immunizations, it’s important to know that kids and teenagers also need vaccines to stay protected. Of course, adults need vaccines too and can get these during well-check and preventative care visits. These appointments also help catch potentially serious diseases and conditions early, including cancer and risks for stroke.

According to the state’s Department of Public Health, childhood vaccinations in California have plummeted more than 40% since last year. Equally concerning is that residents of all ages are not seeing doctors when they might need to for medically related visits: The California Health Care Foundation estimates that hospital outpatient visits are down nearly 25% from pre-COVID levels.

“We understand that people feel uneasy about going to the doctor’s office these days, but health issues don’t take a break during a pandemic,” said Dr. Maya Heinert, Medical Director at the Alliance. “The most important thing to do is to reach out to your doctor’s office over the phone – they can give you specific details about whether it’s necessary to come to the office in-person.

“If your doctor recommends that you come in, ask them what steps they are taking to keep patients safe, such as scheduling appointments with healthy patients during specific hours and at specific locations. Of course, it’s still critical to wear a mask and social distance from anyone not in your family when you leave home, and to stay home when you are sick.”

Vaccines Are Essential

Vaccines protect kids against 16 serious diseases (the CDC provides a complete list of recommended vaccines by age), and if children don’t get all of the necessary vaccines at the right time, they may need to start a new or different vaccine schedule to ensure full immunization. Regular and timely vaccinations also safeguard adults against diseases. This year, it’s especially important for the public to get the flu vaccine. Because COVID-19 and influenza have similar symptoms, protecting yourself against the flu can help you and your doctor assess your COVID-19 risk if you do get sick.

Dr. Heinert noted that while well-child visits keep kids up-to-date on vaccines, these appointments serve other crucial purposes.

“During these visits, your doctor will assess your child’s overall health, including their growth and development, mental and emotional status, vision and hearing,” said Dr. Heinert. “Plus, your doctor can answer any questions your child may have about their health. Given the current climate, now is an especially important time to help kids and young adults understand the value of having a doctor they know and trust who can answer their health questions.”

For adults, well-check visits provide the opportunity to discuss any health concerns and receive vaccines and screenings. Regular check-ups are especially vital for people with chronic conditions like diabetes and asthma, which can lead to an increased risk of severe illness from COVID.

The Alliance encourages members to make arrangements for all family members 6 months and older to get their annual flu vaccine as soon as possible, along with other recommended vaccines and check-ups. For more information, visit www.ccah-alliance.org.

Central California Alliance for Health (the Alliance) is a regional Medi-Cal managed care health plan, established in 1996 to improve access to health care for over 347,000 members in Santa Cruz, Monterey and Merced counties. Using the state’s County Organized Health System (COHS) model, the Alliance delivers innovative community-based health care services by connecting members with providers that deliver timely services and care, focused on prevention, early detection and effective treatment. As an award-winning managed care health plan, the Alliance remains focused on efforts to improve access to quality health care for its members. For more information, visit www.ccah-alliance.org.



Contact: Linda Gorman
Central California Alliance for Health
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 831-236-0261