Immunization Rates Decreased During the COVID-19 Pandemic
A new analysis showed a sustained decrease in immunization rates for recommended vaccines among teens and adults throughout the pandemic in 2020.
Commissioned by GSK and conducted by Avalere Health, this study announced on June 9, 2021, found:
- Teens and adults potentially missed over 26 million doses of recommended vaccines in 2020. This includes 8.8 million missed adolescent vaccine doses and 17.2 million missed adult vaccine doses.
- Total non-influenza vaccine claims submissions were between 13-35% (adolescents) and 17-40% (adults) lower than the same period in 2019.
- Despite warnings of a potential "twindemic," influenza immunization rates were lower in 2020 than in 2019.
This analysis examined claims for U.S. CDC-recommended vaccines across commercial, managed Medicaid, Medicare Advantage, and Medicare fee-for-service Part B for January through November 2020 compared to the same period in 2019.
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic began in late 2019, immunizations were under-utilized for adults and underserved populations, and the pandemic has compounded this problem.
"Teens and adults missed millions of doses of recommended vaccines during the pandemic, the cumulative impact grows like a snowball each day," said Thomas Breuer, Chief Medical Officer, GSK Vaccines, in a related press release.
"Millions of people have been immunized to protect against COVID, but many are missing protection against other diseases. As life returns to normal, we must prioritize getting individuals caught up on their missed vaccines."
The CDC recently issued guidance that U.S. Authorized COVID-19 vaccines and other vaccines can be administered to people on the same day.
Adolescents ages 12–17 are now eligible to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and may be vaccinated with appropriate assent. Sites administering COVID-19 vaccines should follow current state/jurisdictional policies and practices in place for other routine immunizations in this age group, says the CDC.
The CDC stated on June 1, 2021, ‘although data are not available for COVID-19 vaccines administered simultaneously with other vaccines, extensive experience with non-COVID-19 vaccines has demonstrated that immunogenicity and adverse event profiles are generally similar when vaccines are administered simultaneously, as when they are administered alone.’
Additionally, the Vaccines National Strategic Plan 2021–2025 provides a vision for the U.S. vaccine and immunization enterprise for the next five years as the nation seeks to eliminate vaccine-preventable diseases.
‘Although significant progress against vaccine-preventable diseases has been made in the United States, there remain significant gaps in vaccination coverage that contribute to preventable morbidity and mortality each year,’ says this US Health and Human Services Plan.
The CDC vaccine coadministration recommendations and guidance are listed on this webpage.
GSK is a science-led global healthcare company with a special purpose: to help people do more, feel better, live longer. For further information, please visit GSK.
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