Decline in MMR vaccination rate during the COVID-19 pandemic

1. There was a significant drop in administration of the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine during the COVID-19 pandemic

2. Children who attended their preventative care visits were more likely to be vaccinated

Evidence Rating Level: 2 (Good)

Study Rundown: As the COVID-19 pandemic evolves, concern has been raised that vaccination rates have declined in the pediatric population in the United States, setting the stage for a resurgence of previously controlled infectious diseases. This study compared rates of MMR vaccination before the pandemic, in its early stages, and during the stage of clinic reopening in a large pediatric primary care network. Across this time period, the average proportion of 16-month-old children with MMR vaccination declined by 9.6%. Despite clinic re-openings in the summer months of 2020, pandemic-related decline in MMR vaccination persisted. This drop was particularly significant in patients who did not attend any preventative care visits during the pandemic. These findings stress the importance of implementing catch-up vaccination efforts and encouraging parents to bring their children to preventative care visits.

Click to read the study in Pediatrics

Relevant Reading: Racial/Ethnic and Socioeconomic Disparities of SARS-CoV-2 Infection Among Children

In Depth [retrospective cohort]: This study compared rates of MMR administration before the pandemic, in its early stages (March to May 2020), and during the stage of clinic reopening (June to August 2020). It focused on administration rates in 16-month-old children from twelve pediatric primary care clinics in Columbus, Ohio. From March 2017 through March 2020, the average proportion of children who received the MMR vaccine was 72.0%. This decreased to 66.8% by May 2020 (P<0.001) and even further during the time period of clinic reopening, falling to 62.4% (p=0.02) by August. Regardless of time period, those children with preventative care visits after 12-months of age were more likely to be vaccinated (91.2% vs 8.8%; p<0.001). However, the rate of preventative visits decreased during the pandemic, dropping from 76.2% to 70.9%; p<0.001). The proportion of vaccination in those children who did not have preventative care visits dropped across all three time periods (pre-COVID: 9.7%; initial stages; 6.3%; clinic reopening: 2.5%; p=0.01). Compared to Hispanic and Asian patients, White and Black patients were less likely to receive the MMR vaccine (p<0.001).

Image: PD

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