Routine childhood vaccinations plunge amid pandemic

Routine childhood vaccinations in the U.S. dropped dramatically after the federal government declared a national emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic March 13, a new CDC report shows.

Researchers examined two data sources: Vaccines for Children Program provider order data from the CDC's vaccine tracking system and Vaccine Safety Datalink vaccine administration data. They studied the data from Jan. 7 to April 21.

The research shows that there was 2.5 million-dose decrease in orders of routine childhood vaccines, not counting influenza vaccines, after March 13, according to STAT News. There was also a 250,000-dose drop in vaccines containing protection against the measles.

The researchers also found that the decrease in routine vaccinations was less prominent among children younger than 2 years, compared to older children.

Concerns among parents of potentially exposing their children to COVID-19 might be the cause of the declines in routine childhood vaccinations, according to the researchers, but they said skipping the vaccines "might indicate that U.S. children and their communities face increased risks for outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases."


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