Vol. 148, Issue 1 1 Jul 2021
Pediatric Vaccination During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Bradley K. Ackerson, Lina S. Sy, Sungching C. Glenn, Lei Qian, Claire H. Park, Robert J. Riewerts, Steven J. Jacobsen
Pediatrics, Jul 2021, 148 (1) e2020047092
OBJECTIVES The impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic on vaccination coverage, critical to preventing vaccine-preventable diseases, has not been assessed during the reopening period.
METHODS Vaccine uptake and vaccination coverage for recommended vaccines and for measles-containing vaccines at milestone ages were assessed in a large cohort of children aged 0 to 18 years in Southern California during January to August 2020 and were compared with those in the same period in 2019. Differences in vaccine uptake and vaccination coverage (recommended vaccines and measles-containing vaccines) in prepandemic (January to March), stay-at-home (April to May), and reopening (June to August) periods in 2020 and 2019 were compared.
RESULTS Total and measles-containing vaccine uptake declined markedly in all children during the pandemic period in 2020 compared with 2019, but recovered in children aged 0 to 23 months. Among children aged 2 to 18 years, measles-containing vaccine uptake recovered, but total vaccine uptake remained lower. Vaccination coverage (recommended and measles-containing vaccines) declined and remained reduced among most milestone age cohorts ≤24 months during the pandemic period, whereas recommended vaccination coverage in older children decreased during the reopening period in 2020 compared with 2019.
CONCLUSIONS Pediatric vaccine uptake decreased dramatically during the pandemic, resulting in decreased vaccination coverage that persisted or worsened among several age cohorts during the reopening period. Additional strategies, including immunization tracking, reminders, and recall for needed vaccinations, particularly during virtual visits, will be required to increase vaccine uptake and vaccination coverage and reduce the risk of outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases.