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Pediatric Vaccine Ordering Has Decreased During COVID-19

Decrease seen in VFC-funded APIC-recommended childhood vaccines after national emergency declaration

TUESDAY, May 12, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- After the COVID-19 emergency declarations, there was a decrease in pediatric vaccine ordering, according to research published in the May 8 early-release issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Jeanne M. Santoli, M.D., from the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues assessed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on pediatric vaccination in the United States using Vaccines for Children Program (VFC) provider order data and Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD) vaccine administration data. Cumulative doses of VFC-funded vaccines ordered by health care providers at weekly intervals were compared for Jan. 7 to April 21, 2019 (period 1) and Jan. 6 to April 19, 2020 (period 2).

The researchers found that compared with period 1, during period 2, there was a notable decrease in orders for VFC-funded Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices-recommended noninfluenza childhood vaccines and for measles-containing vaccines. The decrease began the week after the national emergency declaration; similar decreases were seen in orders for other vaccines. Beginning the week of March 16, 2020, a corresponding decline in measles-containing vaccine administrations was observed in VSD data; the decrease was less prominent in children aged ≤24 months.

"As social distancing requirements are relaxed, children who are not protected by vaccines will be more vulnerable to diseases such as measles," the authors write. "In response, continued coordinated efforts between health care providers and public health officials at the local, state, and federal levels will be necessary to achieve rapid catch-up vaccination."

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