Childhood vaccinations plunge since Covid-19 pandemic started, CDC says

Hear what it's like to be part of a vaccine trial

Hear what it's like to be part of a vaccine trial

A CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report Early Release report (www.cdc.gov) published online May 8 examined the pandemic's effect on that latter aspect of practice. "The usual childhood diseases are still around and we need to protect our children from them".

With reports of laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 disease cases in all 50 states, disruptions were anticipated in the US health care system's ability to continue providing routine preventive vaccinations.

"As social distancing requirements are relaxed, children who are not protected by vaccines will be more vulnerable to diseases such as measles".

The researchers analyzed two data sources: a federally funded program that provides vaccines to about half the country's children and CDC data from eight large health care organizations.

Unvaccinated or under-vaccinated children will be at risk of other infectious diseases besides coronavirus, the CDC cautioned.

Routine vaccinations have declined since the federal government declared a national emergency in March, according to the study by the CDC and other institutions.

First, the authors tallied the number of cumulative doses of VFC-funded vaccines ordered at weekly intervals between two periods: January 7, 2019, to April 21, 2019, and January 6, 2020, to April 19, 2020.

On Friday authorities said providers in Washington's Childhood Vaccine Program reported they administered 30 percent fewer vaccines to 0-18-year-olds in March of this year compared with the same month in previous years.

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VSD data show a corresponding decline in measles-containing vaccine administrations beginning the week of March 16, 2020.

The drop in administering measles vaccinations was less among children aged two years old or younger.

The smaller decline in measles-containing vaccine administration among children aged ≤24 months suggests that system-level strategies to prioritize well child care and immunization for this age group are being implemented.

It presents another challenge for health care officials: ensuring children behind on immunizations get up to date.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is a reminder of the importance of vaccination.

"It would be natural for parents to be concerned about exposing their children to COVID-19 during a well-child visit or routine exam", LeRoy said.

LeRoy told AAFP News that he saw a similar opportunity for family physicians to talk about the importance of vaccines with parents.

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