US children on track to miss 9M vaccine doses this year, study finds

About 40 percent of parents say their children missed routine vaccinations due to the pandemic, lowering community protection against vaccine preventable diseases, according to a data analysis published Nov. 18 from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.

Between January and September, measles, mumps and rubella, and diphtheria, tetanus and acellular pertussis childhood vaccination doses saw decreases of up to 26 percent compared to the same period last year. Polio vaccinations saw drops up to 16 percent. 

At the current rate, BCBSA estimates 9 million childhood vaccination doses could be missed by the end of the year. 

"The U.S. is on the precipice of a severe immunization crisis among children," Vincent Nelson, MD, CMO at BCBSA, said in a news release. "The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly interrupted adherence to vaccination schedules, and the possibility that preventable diseases, like polio, could become a threat to public health once again is particularly concerning." 

BCBSA compiled vaccination data using medical claims from millions of its members. 

The analysis comes after UNICEF and the World Health Organization recently warned of a significant resurgence of polio and measles, calling for emergency funds to ramp up vaccination efforts amid disruptions brought on by COVID-19. 

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