Concerns the pandemic created other healthcare issues

Published: Jun. 4, 2021 at 4:39 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Slowly, everything is returning to normal as more people get vaccinated and COVID numbers continue to drop. Healthcare leaders are also looking forward to a return to normal. Not only for convenience, but concerns about their patient’s health needs.

The pandemic is getting under control, but the state is not there yet. People at the Jefferson County Department of Health are scaling back, but they are still looking forward to normalcy so they can go after treating healthcare needs they believe may have been ignored or delayed over the last year or so.

As you look around Alabama and in Jefferson County, those big drive-thru vaccination sites are starting to close down because of the drop in demand.

“We are pretty much finished with these large mass vaccination efforts. At some point, our health department and the rest of us need to get back to providing the other services our community needs,” said JCDH Health Officer Dr. Mark Wilson.

Dr. Wilson and other health leaders have concentrated treating those with COVID and then slowing the spread of the virus anyway they can. With vaccine readily available, Wilson says they need to return to some of the primary care services, family planning, and other diseases to make sure they are under control.

“We have some major problems with mental health as well as drug abuse and violence in our community. There are multiple health challenges we have to address,” Wilson said.

Health leaders say the pandemic could have contributed to some of those health issues. Getting back on a normal schedule again will not be easy.

“Because so much effort placed on pandemic response, other things like screening for cancer, checkups, even getting other vaccinations have fallen behind,” Wilson said.

Getting a doctor’s appointment Wilson said may take time now. The mass sites are expected to close down by the end of June. Smaller pop up sites and vaccines available at doctor’s offices should fill the void.

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