Two recent reports highlighted the concerning drop in routine child and adolescent vaccinations during the pandemic and the risk of outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases. An analysis of immunization information systems data from 10 U.S. jurisdictions found a substantial decrease in administered vaccine doses from March to May 2020 compared with same period in 2018 and 2019. Published June 11 in the MMWR, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report noted that although doses increased from June to September 2020, the increase was not enough to achieve catch-up coverage. A June 9 report from Avalere Health, commissioned by GSK and based on insurance claims, found that adolescents 7 to 18 years of age received an estimated 29 million doses of recommended vaccines in 2019 compared to 20.2 million doses in 2020, suggesting nearly 9 million potentially missed doses. News coverage included articles in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and USA Today.
“We urge families to get their children caught up with their routine immunizations now,” Yvonne Maldonado, MD, chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Committee on Infectious Diseases, told The Washington Post in a statement. Dr. Maldonado is a professor and the chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases in the Department of Pediatrics at Stanford University School of Medicine, where she is also the senior associate dean for faculty development and diversity. “States have begun opening up, and as families move about in their community, we are concerned that we could see outbreaks of measles, whooping cough, and other life-threatening diseases that could spread rapidly.”