By Alan Gionet

(CBS4) – All throughout the pandemic, health experts have implored people to listen to their doctors. But there has been a disconnect with providing the COVID vaccine. Doctors like pediatrician Dr. Michael Milobsky in Castle Rock are hoping to become providers.

“We up to this point have not been able to,” said Milobsky. “Although we are greatly promoting them and have great relationships with all the vaccine providers.”

Part of the problem is storage, part of it is keeping track of the heavy data keeping demands that go along with dispensing the vaccine.

“We have refrigerators full of normal vaccines because we give them out literally hundreds of times a day,” but COVID vaccines are more labor intensive. “You can only get it in certain sized batches. You have to have a very meticulous recording system and a person just dedicated to doing that and cataloging.”

Dr. Michael Milobsky

(credit: CBS)

His staff, he says, is already overwhelmed trying to keep up with patient load. The RSV virus is kicking up and more COVID cases are beginning to show up among children with schools open. He wonders if Colorado’s relatively high vaccination rate among adults as compared with some other states will keep the virus down.

“So that’s where the concern lies, is are we going to see that same rise in very ill, dangerously ill children or are we not going to see it because we have higher vaccination rates, but we don’t know?”

He fears that with cases rising, “There’s going to be a subsequent rise in the number of kids statistically who then also get seriously ill, hospitalized and in the ICU.”

Part of the job for family doctors is explaining the science behind the vaccines.

With some parents that’s been difficult.

“That side of the issue — it is a firm and fixed belief as much as my belief in God,” he related.

Already this week, he and his staff have taken calls from parents seeking, or even angrily demanding mask exemptions for their children.

“People got at times angry and aggressive with us and inappropriate,” said Dr. Milobsky.

(credit: CBS)

“We have a very, very, serious responsibility,” he explained, “That if I write a mask exemption for your child and your child does get COVID, ends up in the hospital or God forbid worse, I’m responsible for that.”

His office follows the recommendations of The American Academy of Pediatrics which state that exemptions are for children over 2 who are physically or cognitively unable to remove a mask.

“I have written an exemption or two. We have several children who are profoundly autistic,” Dr. Milobsky explained.

As a parent of seven children, he says he understands the angst of parents who see their child struggling with a mask.

However, “Your child gets another child sick who’s on chemotherapy or who has a serious underlying illness, that ends up in the hospital or worse. That’s my responsibility.”

Denying parents an exemption has made him a pariah to some, but it would be based on a lie about their child’s medical situation.

“Being a physician now is probably one of the most challenging times I can recall in my 20 year plus year career … The disdain for my opinion. The disdain for my viewpoint. The disdain for the work that I do.”

The grant program to better connect families with vaccinations he is likely to seek.

Believing he can do good by counseling families to vaccinate those currently eligible and more children as their safety and efficacy are established is part of the oath he took as a doctor.

“I’m going to consider it probably the most important thing I can do to help us in the pandemic, to help our children in the pandemic is help them get vaccinated.”

Alan Gionet