HealthDay News — Catch-up vaccinations for routine childhood and adolescent vaccinations are lagging behind after a decline during March to May 2020, according to research published in the June 11 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
Bhavini Patel Murthy, M.D., from the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues assessed vaccine administration data during March to September 2020 from 10 U.S. jurisdictions with high-performing immunization information systems to understand the impact of the pandemic on routine vaccinations.
The researchers found that in all 10 jurisdictions, fewer administered doses of routine childhood and adolescent vaccines were recorded during March to September 2020 compared with the same period in 2018 and 2019. During March to May 2020, when many jurisdictions enacted stay-at-home orders, the number of vaccine doses administered declined substantially. The number of vaccine doses administered during June to September 2020 approached prepandemic baseline levels after many jurisdictions lifted the stay-at-home orders, but the levels did not increase to that necessary to catch up children who did not receive routine vaccinations on time. This lag in catch-up vaccinations could pose a serious public health threat.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has substantially disrupted routine medical care in the United States, requiring a consolidated and coordinated effort among multiple partners to promote catching up and staying up to date on routine vaccinations for children of all ages,” the authors write. “Health care providers should assess the vaccination status of all pediatric patients, including adolescents, and contact those who are behind schedule to ensure that all children are fully vaccinated.”