Catch Up Now on Child and Adolescent Vaccinations

May 20, 2021

Due to COVID-19, children and adolescents have fallen behind on receiving recommended vaccines. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that children get caught up now with vaccinations so that they're protected as they return to in-person learning. We encourage providers to schedule catch-up vaccinations as soon as possible and prepare for COVID-19 vaccine protocols.

What You Need to Know About COVID-19 Vaccine Protocols

The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine has received emergency use authorization for children ages 12 and older. By fall, COVID-19 vaccines may be approved for younger children. The CDC recommends the COVID-19 vaccine for everyone ages 12 and older.

In updated clinical guidance, the CDC says that other vaccines may be given with the COVID-19 vaccine. It’s no longer necessary to wait 14 days between the COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines as a precaution. The American Academy of Pediatrics also supports this guidance.

To help children and adolescents catch up on all needed vaccines, the CDC recommends that providers:

  • Identify members whose children have missed vaccinations and contact them to schedule appointments
  • Check at each visit for any missing immunizations and deliver vaccines that are due
  • Let members know what precautions are in place for safe delivery of in-person services

Why Catching Up on Vaccinations Is Crucial

Vaccines protect children from serious and potentially life-threatening diseases. According to the National Committee for Quality Assurance, as of Feb. 14, 2021:

  • Overall adolescent vaccination rates are down as much as 22% due to the pandemic
  • Overall provider orders (other than flu) from the federally funded Vaccines for Children Program are down by almost 10.9 million doses
  • This decline includes MMR/MMRV vaccines for measles, mumps, rubella and varicella, which are down by 1.4 million doses

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The above material is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for the independent medical judgment of a physician. Physicians and other health care providers are encouraged to use their own best medical judgment based upon all available information and the condition of the patient in determining the best course of treatment.

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