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Amid decline in immunizations, AAP urges parents to keep up to date with child vaccinations

As immunization rates fall in children, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a checkup with physicians.

August is National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has urged parents to talk to pediatricians during this time about childhood and adolescent vaccines. As immunization rates in children decline, parents should find out if their children have fallen behind on vaccines. If so, they should catch their children up on vaccinations they may have missed.

With COVID-19 causing people to stay home, an estimated 25 million children missed their immunizations last year worldwide. This is the largest decline in immunization recorded in the last 30 years. A similar trend occurred in the 2021 to 2022 school year, leading to tens of thousands more children in the United States being unprotected against specific diseases.

With immunization towards diseases such as whooping cough, measles, and mumps falling, AAP President Moira Szilagyi, MD, PhD, FAAP, urged parents to take their children to a pediatrician for a checkup. At the same time, Szilagyisuggests children get caught up on their COVID-19 vaccine. Outbreaks of diseases may rise as more people travel. This makes it more important to protect children from these preventable disease outbreaks.

To help with this task, the AAP recommended different resources. One of these resources was “Child Vaccination Across America,” an interactive immunization map which shows childhood vaccination rate per state.The data on this map, updated annually, comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Immunization Survey. Updates will be made which add tutorials on how to use the map. To obtain immunization data for a state, a user can hover their cursor over that state on the map.

Other resources were offered as well, such as Conversations About Vaccines, an interactive tool on HealthyChildren.org that allows parents to discover answers to questions they may have about vaccines. Answers to common questions about vaccines were also made into videos, which the AAP compiled into a playlist on their YouTube channel.

The AAP reminded readers that COVID-19 vaccines have been recently approved for children under the age of 5 years. With this approval, the AAP urged parents to take their children to a pediatrician so they could be vaccinated. This could be a chance to get their children immunization against not only COVID-19, but other diseases as well.

Reference

As Child and Adolescent Immunization Rates Hit Historic Lows Due to Pandemic, AAP Urges Parents to Check on their Child’s Immunizations and to Vaccinate Against COVID. American Academy of Pediatrics. July 28, 2022. Accessed August 4, 2022. https://www.aap.org/en/news-room/news-releases/aap/2022/as-child-and-adolescent-immunization-rates-hit-historic-lows-due-to-pandemic-aap-urges-parents-to-check-on-their-childs-immunizations-and-to-vaccinate-against-covid/