During the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a decline in the vaccination rates among children across Missouri. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) is partnering with the Missouri Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (MOAAP) to encourage parents to take their children for well-child visits and recommended vaccinations. Well-child visits play a vital role in ensuring children are healthy and protected against vaccine-preventable diseases.
Missouri’s vaccination rates during the COVID-19 pandemic
Missouri has seen a decrease in the number of vaccines given among children since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. In April 2020, there was more than a 50 percent decrease in the number of vaccines given to children 18 years of age or younger as compared to April 2019. Slight increases in vaccines given were then seen in May and June, but compared to the same timeframe in 2019, the decreases were still more than 35-30 percent for the respective months.
What are health care providers doing to ensure well-child visits are safe?
Guidance has been given to health care providers on what they can do to ensure safety during the well-child visits. Based on the guidance received from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), providers have implemented procedures and have added precautions to ensure the safety and well-being of Missouri families. For example, offices are bringing patients directly from their cars to a room, utilizing separate entrances, completely separating office space between sick and well-child visits, or holding well-child visits first and then sick visits later in the afternoon with additional cleaning procedures in between visits. These extra steps are being taken to prioritize patient safety and health. Clinics are adapting their office visit procedures in real-time based on the most updated guidance.