While COVID-19 vaccination mandates are the raging debate of the moment, something more fundamental but equally fraught with the potential for danger has gone largely unnoticed. Many medical practices—including pediatric offices—discouraged or outright ceased visits for routine care at times during the pandemic. Consequently, according to new research published by JAMA Pediatrics, the proportion of children who are up to date on their childhood vaccinations has suffered. Based on review of vaccination rates in 2019 (before the pandemic hit the United States) and 2020 (in the midst of the pandemic here) the researchers concluded that the proportion of children who were up to date with vaccinations fell in the 7 months, 18 months, and 13 years age groups. Rates were lowest in non-Hispanic African-American children among most age groups in both time frames. The data reflect eight U.S. health systems in California, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Minnesota, and Wisconsin in the Vaccine Safety Datalink. With the authors concluding that “interventions to increase routine childhood vaccination” are needed, urgent care may be ideally positioned to help meet this need. Assuming you’ve got adequate stock, ask parents about their children’s vaccination status when they present with other concerns. Offer to help them get caught up if they’ve fallen behind. You’ll not only help protect those kids, but also remind the parents of the breadth of services you’re able to provide.

Too Many Kids Are Behind on Basic Vaccinations Thanks to the Pandemic. Help Them Catch Up