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Childhood vaccines down as much as 26% this year, report finds

New data from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association shows that vaccinations for measles, polio and other highly contagious diseases had fallen by as much as 26% during the coronavirus pandemic (Source: “Children in U.S. May Miss 9 Million Vaccine Doses in 2020, Report Warns,” New York Times, Nov. 18).

Children in the United States are on pace this year to miss nine million vaccine doses for measles, polio and other highly contagious diseases, according to medical claims data — a disruption that health care authorities called alarming and attributed to the coronavirus pandemic.

The data was made public on Wednesday by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, one of the nation’s largest federations of insurance companies, which said that routine childhood vaccinations had declined by as much as 26%, compared with 2019.

The findings emerged less than two weeks after the World Health Organization and UNICEF warned that progress vaccinating children from polio and measles was being threatened by the pandemic. In an emergency call to action, the two organizations said that the risk of measles and polio outbreaks was on the rise.