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Decrease Seen in Child Vaccination Coverage During COVID-19

Up-to-date status for all recommended vaccines down to 49.7 percent among children aged 5 months

WEDNESDAY, May 20, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- There has been a decrease in child vaccination coverage in almost all milestone age cohorts during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to research published in the May 18 early-release issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Cristi A. Bramer, M.P.H., from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services in Lansing, and colleagues analyzed data from the Michigan Care Improvement Registry to assess whether vaccine coverage changed during the COVID-19 pandemic. The vaccination status of milestone age cohorts of children at ages 1, 3, 5, 7, 16, 19, and 24 months was examined; an average sample size of 9,269 was included for the study period years 2016 to 2019 and an average sample size of 9,539 was included for 2020.

The researchers found that in all milestone age cohorts, there was a decrease in vaccination coverage, except for birth-dose hepatitis B coverage, which is typically administered in the hospital. Up-to-date status for all recommended vaccines decreased among children aged 5 months, from 66.6, 67.4, 67.3, and 67.9 percent, respectively, during the years 2016 to 2019 to 49.7 percent in May 2020. For the cohort aged 16 months, coverage with all recommended vaccines decreased, with a decrease in measles-containing vaccination coverage from 76.1 percent in May 2019 to 70.9 percent in May 2020. In addition, there was a 21.5 percent decrease in the number of noninfluenza vaccine doses administered and reported for children aged ≤18 years.

"The observed declines in vaccination coverage might leave young children and communities vulnerable to vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles," the authors write. "Concerted efforts are needed to ensure rapid catch-up for children who are not up-to-date."

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