Some city doctors are turning to old-fashioned house calls to make sure their youngest patients get immunized despite the coronavirus — including one physician who hops on her bicycle toting a cooler of vaccines to visit homes.
“I get a pit in my stomach thinking about a 15-month-old that hasn’t had the MMR vaccine,” bike-pedaling Dr. Melissa Goldstein told The Post, referring to the immunization for measles, mumps and rubella.
“I can hop on my bike. … I have the time to do it now,” said the Manhattan doctor, who works at Carnegie Hill Pediatrics. “I have [personal protective equipment] in my backpack that I put on when I get there. I can meet them at the doorway, and I don’t have to go inside.”
The doctor said she throws an ice pack in a cooler to carry the vaccines.
“It’s scary to think that these kids, especially the new babies, the 2-month-old, 4-month-old, 6-month-old, are carrying on without these essential vaccines,” Goldstein said.
She said she performed her first house-call immunization three weeks ago.
“It was a 7-week-old baby,” Goldstein said. “I adore [the family], and the mom is a type 1 diabetic, so she’s been really careful. She hasn’t left the home since this started.
“They live on First [Avenue] and [First] Street — it took me 15 minutes to get down there on a bike. This was no skin off my back to do at all and gave us all peace of mind.”
The doctor said she has made four or five other house calls involving vaccinations since.
Manhattan Dr. Dyan Hes said she’s set to make house calls to immunize her younger clients, too.
“I have enough vaccines,” said Hes, the founder of Gramercy Pediatrics, adding that actually, “I have too many vaccines because I don’t have enough patients now.
“My volume is down 95 percent,” she said. “What I’m going to offer patients is I will come to their house and vaccinate them. Otherwise, we’re going to have huge outbreaks of measles, pertussis.
“Just remember, once this country reopens, we’re international, New York, so we are going to get people flying in from Africa, flying from Europe. In [some] other countries, not the US, all immunization programs have stopped.”
The head of the World Health Organization warned Monday that “children will die” because parents across the globe are not getting their kids immunized amid the pandemic.
The fact that many New York City families have fled the Big Apple to escape its congestion and potential spread of the contagion only adds to the vaccination dilemma, local doctors said.
“Our hope is over the summer to try to catch up on those kids, but right now, we are trying to prioritize the most important — and that’s the babies,” said Dr. Ellen Putter of the Brooklyn office of Pediatric Associates of New York City.