The falling rate of routine vaccinations for young children in the United States during the coronavirus pandemic could lead to measles outbreaks in the future, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned in a report published Monday.
Aside from hepatitis B vaccines, which are typically administered in the hospital at birth, the CDC found that vaccinations fell across all age groups among babies and toddlers after analyzing immunization data from Michigan. The decline is likely linked to more Americans skipping doctors' appointments because of the pandemic.
For the 16-month age group, coverage for all recommended vaccines declined, the report found, including measles-containing vaccinations, which dropped from 76.1 percent in May 2019 to 70.9 percent this year. "The observed declines in vaccination coverage might leave young children and communities vulnerable to vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles," the CDC wrote in its findings. "If measles vaccination coverage of 90 percent to 95 percent (the level needed to establish herd immunity) is not achieved, measles outbreaks can occur."
Of course, last May's numbers figures fall short of the herd immunity figure, as well, and there have been multiple outbreaks in the U.S. over the last few years.