WA Dept of Health: Childhood immunization rates decline during the pandemic

Monday, May 16, 2022

OLYMPIA – A new report shows routine childhood immunization rates decreased during the pandemic, dropping by 13% in 2021 when compared to pre-pandemic levels. 

The drop was most noticeable in young children.

In response, the Washington State Department of Health (DOH), health care providers and other agencies are working with families to catch up and stay current on routine immunizations. 

“The pandemic has been difficult for everyone. Disruptions to schooling, childcare and in-person health care made it hard for some families to stay up to date on their shots,” said Tao Sheng Kwan-Gett, MD, MPH, Chief Science Officer. 
“We encourage parents and caregivers to schedule their well-child visits as soon as possible, to make sure their kids are happy, healthy, meeting developmental milestones, and ready for school.”

The new report, compiled by DOH, compares routine childhood vaccination rates in Washington from 2021 to averages from 2015-2019. Rates were found to have declined the most in younger children, however rates in teens increased. 

Children need to be up to date on immunizations to attend preschool, kindergarten, school, or childcare this fall. 
“Vaccines are the best tools we have to protect kids from getting sick from preventable diseases,” added Dr. Kwan-Gett.


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