Federal health officials have determined that the rate of routine childhood vaccinations took a hit during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A newly released study by the CDC found that such vaccinations dropped in 10 U.S. states: Idaho, Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York City, North Dakota, Oregon, Washington, and Wisconsin.
The decrease hit hardest during the spring of 2020, when the pandemic — and the resulting safety measures, including stay-at-home orders and virtual learning — took hold, according to the data.
And while there was a "rebound" in vaccine administration from June through September, it was not enough to achieve the "catch-up vaccination" that could have made up for "the many months when children missed routine vaccination," a news release says.
The CDC cites a number of factors for the decline, including "fear of contracting COVID-19 in the health care facility or the community," which might have "prevented some parents from seeking routine pediatric care for their children."
Additionally, the agency says, "jurisdictions might have differed in the duration or enforcement of stay-at-home orders or in the prevalence of COVID-19 cases at different time points."
Another possible reason is "the rapid transition to virtual learning," which may have resulted in "a lack of enforcement of immunization requirements for school attendance."
However, there are a couple of caveats to the study, which was released on Friday.
The CDC points out that since researchers analyzed vaccination data from only 10 states, the findings might not be generalizable to the entire country.
Further, "immunization information systems were the only type of system analyzed," and the research was "not corroborated with other surveillance programs, such as National Immunization Survey-Child or National Immunization Survey-Teen."
Nonetheless, health officials are now concerned about resurgences in childhood diseases such as measles, mumps, and rubella.
Per the Fargo Forum, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is "working to boost" vaccine administration back to pre-pandemic levels "by the time school starts in the fall."
Kris Ehresmann, director of MDH's Infectious Disease Division, tells the news service that the department is working with medical providers and producing media and education campaigns to ramp up child vaccinations.
You can view the findings of the study by clicking right here.