HealthDay News — There were drops in routine vaccinations among both children and adults during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a study published online Oct. 7 in the American Journal of Public Health.
Angela K. Shen, Sc.D., from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and colleagues assessed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on immunization services across the life course using the Michigan immunization registry data from 2018 through September 2020.
The researchers found that of the 12,004,384 individual vaccine doses assessed, 48.6 percent were administered to children (ages 0 to 8 years), 15.6 percent to adolescents (ages 9 to 18 years), and 35.8 percent to adults (ages 19 to 105 years). Beginning in February 2020, doses administered decreased overall, with peak declines observed in April 2020 (63.3 percent). Adult dose decreases were seen in all settings except obstetrics and gynecology provider offices and pharmacies. There was a two-thirds decrease in doses reported by local health departments (66.4 percent). The total number of sites administering pediatric vaccines decreased, while childhood vaccination coverage decreased 4.4 percent overall and by 5.8 percent in Medicaid-enrolled children.
“As we strive to achieve prepandemic levels of routine vaccines, it is vital to ensure catch-up vaccination of doses missed throughout the pandemic to stem outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases like measles,” Shen said in a statement. “Both adult and pediatric providers must identify which patients need catch-up doses and make sure those individuals get vaccinated, so that we don’t see a resurgence of viruses that we have the tools to prevent.”