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Opinion The pandemic forced health-care providers to get creative

A health-care worker steps out of a mobile vaccination van in New York on March 29, 2021. (Kathy Willens/Associated Press)
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Regarding the April 12 Health & Science article “Restrictions on care during the pandemic led to fewer adolescents getting HPV shot”:

It’s understandable that many people put off preventive and primary care during the coronavirus pandemic. But here in New York state, HPV vaccination among adolescents increased in 2020 in areas beyond New York City. Recognizing the challenges of the pandemic, health-care providers got creative. For example, they administered vaccines via drive-through clinics, mobile vaccination units and home visits. Or they made simple adjustments to minimize risks in their offices, such as having patients wait for an exam room outdoors or modifying appointment schedules to conduct wellness visits in the morning and sick visits later in the day. These measures likely contributed to the increased rates of vaccinations against both HPV and childhood illnesses, including measles, mumps and chickenpox, in New York in 2020.

The pandemic, of course, has harmed the nation’s health in myriad ways. Silver linings are hard to find, but it forced us to innovate and find new ways to deliver health care when the old ways were not viable. There are many lessons that should be carried forward as we work to build back a better health system.

David Sandman, New York

The writer is president and chief executive of the New York State Health Foundation.

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