CDC: Gaps In Non-COVID-19 Vaccinations Worsened By Pandemic

Published: Monday, September 6, 2021 - 5:05am
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends a handful of vaccinations for 11- and 12-year-olds, along with catch-up and booster inoculations for teens over 15.

But gaps remain, and the COVID-19 pandemic may have slowed progress toward closing them.

Data show a substantial decrease in the number of vaccine doses given to children and adolescents since the pandemic began. 

The agency recommends adolescents receive TDap vaccines against tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough, along with inoculations against meningococcal diseases and the cancer-causing human papillomavirus, or HPV.

Prior to the pandemic, HPV coverage was up, and TDap shots held steady, although vaccination rates were lower among teens living outside metro areas.

Not so for rural teens below the poverty line, possibly thanks to the Vaccines for Children program, which provides vaccinations to teens who are Medicaid-eligible, uninsured or American Indian or Alaska Native. 

Understanding the socioeconomic and geographical factors behind the disparities will require further research. 

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