Infectious Disease

The decline in pediatric vaccinations in Colorado displays an even bigger downside throughout the pandemic

December 11, 2020

2 min read

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Data from the Colorado Immunization Information System showed decreases in vaccination retention in three different age groups as a result of the pandemic.

Sean T. O’Leary, MD, MPH, Associate Professor of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at the University of Colorado’s Denver Anschutz Medical Campus, and colleagues reported the number of vaccinations given to children ages 0-2, 3-9, and 10-17 years from Jan. 5 were. before the COVID-19 pandemic – until May 2nd.

Decrease in mean immunization rates during the pandemic::

From January 5 to March 15, the average number of vaccinations given per week was 23,523 in 2,181 children aged 0-2 years, 6,148 in 1,049 children aged 3 to 9 years and 8,318 in 933 children aged 10 to 17 years.

On March 15, when social distancing guidelines were introduced, vaccination counts dropped to 16,146 in 1,648 children ages 0-2, 1,330 in 408 children ages 3 to 9, and 623 children ages 1 to 17 years to 1,529.

The mean vaccination rate decreased by 31% in children aged 0 to 2 years, in children aged 3 to 9 years by 78%, and in children aged 10 to 17 years by 82%.

In June, the WHO reported that at least 80 million children under 1 year of age could miss routine vaccinations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, a national survey found that two-thirds of U.S. parents were too nervous to take their child to the pediatrician during the pandemic.

Sean T. O’Leary

“Pediatricians have developed many strategies to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission to their patients and families, as well as themselves,” O’Leary told Healio. “With these measures, the transmission of COVID-19 in pediatric practices is very little documented.”

According to the authors, all age groups saw a “significant decrease” in vaccinations immediately after social distancing was published.

The vaccination rate decreased by 4,581 per week (95% CI, 2,965-6,196) in children 0 to 2 years of age, by 2,486 per week (95% CI, 568-4,408) in children 3 to 9 years of age (95% CI, 568-4,408) and at Children aged 3 to 9 years by 4,060 per week (95% CI, 2,156-5,965) in the 10 to 17 year olds.

“I can’t talk about how people are feeling, but it’s very important that parents make sure their children are up to date on their vaccines,” said O’Leary. “With a decline in vaccine uptake, as we’ve seen here, we’re vulnerable to outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases that are actually significantly more dangerous to children than COVID-19.”

Although there was a trend before the COVID-19 pandemic that showed a decrease in the number of vaccinations – 405 vaccinations per week (95% CI, 203-607) – that trend was not as significant as it is now, the authors wrote.

O’Leary told Healio that similar results could be seen nationally. A May MMWR report showed a “notable decrease” in vaccine orders for child-sponsored vaccination against children without influence from January 6 to April 19, 2020 compared to vaccination from January 7 to April 21, 2019.

“The decline began a week after the national declaration of emergency. Similar decreases in orders for other vaccines have also been observed, ”the authors wrote. “[Vaccine Safety Datalink] Data show a corresponding decrease in vaccine doses containing measles from the week of March 16, 2020. “

References:

O’Leary ST et al. JAMA Pediatr. 2020; doi: 10.1001 / jamapediatrics.2020.4733.

Santoli JM et al. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2020; doi: 10.15585 / mmwr.mm691e2.

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