Childhood vaccinations drop amid the coronavirus pandemic

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The report uses Michigan as a case study, but that doesn’t necessarily suggest that the state is worse than others when it comes to vaccines. The results, for example, come less than two weeks after another CDC report showed that childhood vaccinations have plummeted across the United States since the start of the pandemic.

In that previous report, the CDC reported a “dramatic reduction” in the number of vaccines ordered through a federal program that immunizes half of all children in the United States. Unvaccinated or under-vaccinated children will be at risk of other infectious diseases besides coronavirus, the CDC warned at the time. The new report looked at Michigan’s vaccine information system earlier this month and found that the number of non-flu vaccine doses given to children decreased overall by 22%. Vaccine doses in children younger than two years have decreased by 16%.

Less than half of the 5-month-old babies were updated on their vaccines this May, according to the study. Typically, about two thirds are.

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Children enrolled in Medicaid, a program for low-income Americans, also had lower vaccination rates. For example, among 7-month-old babies, only 35% of Medicaid-registered children were updated on their vaccines. This is compared to 55% of children not enrolled in the program.

“The decreases observed in vaccination coverage could make children and communities vulnerable to vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles,” wrote Cristi Bramer and colleagues from Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services, the Immunization Action Coalition in Minnesota and the Philadelphia Children’s Hospital.

They noted that measures to curb the spread of coronavirus can make access to health services more difficult. Some services may be replaced by telemedicine, they said, but vaccines require in-person visits.

“Strategies for maintaining immunization services include the dedication of specific clinics, rooms or buildings for sick visits and check-ups; reduction of the number of patients on site at any time; closure of waiting rooms or areas for registration and control of patients by phone and receive vaccinations from their vehicles in the parking lot, “the researchers wrote.

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