University of Wisconsin–Madison Medical College of Wisconsin

COVID-19 Pandemic Exacerbates Childhood Immunization Disparities

Brittany J. Lehrer, MD; Lauren Lawton, RN, BSN; Amy Kastens, RN, BSN; Larissa Malmstadt, MD; Robert Rohloff, MD; Peter L. Havens, MD, MS; Anna R. Huppler, MD

WMJ. 2022;121(1):58-60

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Background: The objective of this study was to measure the recovery of routine pediatric immunization after a period of reduced vaccine administrations in the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Methods: We recorded data on vaccines administered in Children’s Wisconsin primary care or urgent care clinics from January 2019 through December 2020 and aggregated data by date and insurance type.

Results: During the gradual reopening period after week 21 in 2020, vaccine administration returned to prepandemic levels for children with commercial insurance but remained below baseline rates until the end of 2020 for children with Medicaid insurance.

Discussion: The decline in pediatric vaccination in 2020 disproportionately affected children with Medicaid insurance.

Author Affiliations: Medical College of Wisconsin Affiliated Hospitals, Milwaukee, Wisconsin (Havens, Huppler); Children’s Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin (Lawton, Kastens, Malmstadt, Rohloff); Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennesee (Lehrer).
Corresponding Author: Anna Huppler, MD, Children’s Corporate Center, Suite C450, 999 N 92nd St, Milwaukee, WI 53226; phone 414.337.7070, email; ORCID ID 0000-0003-1263-6623
Acknowledgement: The authors wish to thank Drs Christopher Schwake and Benjamin Landgraf for helpful discussion and assistance with electronic medical record tools.
Funding/Support: None declared.
Financial Disclosures: None declared.
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