Published on in Vaccine Update for Healthcare Providers
On March 24, 2020, the CDC issued guidelines regarding the importance of routine immunizations, especially for children less than or equal to 24 months of age.
To determine to what extent the shelter-at-home and lockdown orders have impacted childhood vaccination rates, the CDC examined two data sources: Vaccines for Children Program (VFC) and the Vaccine Safety DataLink. Two time periods were compared: January to April 2019, before the pandemic, and January to April 2020, after the pandemic (Santoli J, Lindley MC, DeSilva MB, et al. Effects of COVID-19 pandemic on routine pediatric vaccine ordering and administration — United States, 2020. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 2020, May 8;69:1-3. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6919e2).
The CDC found a notable decrease in orders for ACIP-recommended childhood vaccines between these two periods. Both tracking systems showed a notable decline in measles-containing vaccines. The decrease in vaccine orders was less prominent for those less than or equal to 24 months of age than for older children.
The authors concluded, “The identified declines in routine pediatric vaccine ordering and doses administered might indicate that U.S. children and their communities face increased risks for outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases.”
According to these data, more young children will be susceptible to measles this winter; a disease that last year caused approximately 1,300 people to suffer. Although the social distancing that will likely be in place to some extent this coming winter might lessen the risk of measles transmission, the fact that more children are now susceptible is worrisome.
Materials in this section are updated as new information and vaccines become available. The Vaccine Education Center staff regularly reviews materials for accuracy.
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