Routine Child Vaccination in the U.S. on the Decline – Dangers and Solutions

Routine Child Vaccination in the U.S. on the Decline – Dangers and Solutions

According to an analysis released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, routine child vaccination keeps declining from the target coverage of 95 percent before the pandemic, now having reached 93 percent in the 2021-2022 school year.

The director of CDC’s Immunization Services Division, Georgina Peacock, shared via a media briefing that while a two percent decrease “might not sound significant, it means that nearly 250,000 kindergarteners are potentially not protected against measles alone.”

The expert went on to stress that the national coverage for this MMR vaccine meant to prevent rubella, mumps and measles, is the lowest it has been in more than a decade.

She and other professionals who contributed to the briefing linked this decline to a number of different factors, one of them being the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic such as missed doctor’s appointments, where such routine vaccines would be administered to kids.

In addition to that, data also shows there are access barriers for kids who live in rural areas or below the poverty line.

Finally, the most obvious one is vaccine misinformation which has been an issue even years before the pandemic.

Sure enough, in the past, officials noticed a clear link between anti-vaccine rhetoric and declining vaccination for school aged children.

However, CDC has not seen the same tendency in the current data.

The deputy director for the CDC’s Immunization Services Division, Shannon Stokley, shared with reporters that this decrease in vaccination amongst children could be a result of pandemic related school policy that offered caretakers flexibility and grace periods for vaccinating their young ones.

But as the United States continues the attempt to move on from the pandemic, this may mean the vaccination coverage will return back to normal.

That being said, the CDC officials still acknowledged that the anti-vaccine sentiments that became rampant because of the COVID-19 immunization rollout may make this full rebound a lot less likely.

About this, Peacock stated that “We’ve seen some hesitancy in vaccines during the pandemic-related mostly, I think, to the COVID-19 vaccine. This could in some cases have translated over to routine vaccinations. That’s something that we’re watching very closely.”

She went on to add that the best way to combat vaccine hesitancy is by simply pointing parents and caretakers to health providers they trust in order to discuss all of their vaccine concerns.

In the meantime, the chair for the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Committee on Infectious Diseases, Sean O’Leary, was more hopeful, telling reporters that “Parents are still getting their children vaccinated—the vast majority are. Certainly, there are some who have questions or who are resistant to vaccines. But for the most part, parents are still vaccinating their children. And to me, what I gather from these reports looking at the data is that the things we really need to focus on are addressing access and child poverty.”

All in all, the CDC warned in their report that “Clusters of unvaccinated and undervaccinated children can lead to outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases.”

Katherine Baldwin

Katherine is just getting her start as a journalist. She attended a technical school while still in high school where she learned a variety of skills, from photography to nutrition. Her enthusiasm for both natural and human sciences is real so she particularly enjoys covering topics on medicine and the environment.

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