Pediatric Immunization Gaps Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic
Childhood and adolescent vaccination rates have decreased during the COVID-19 pandemic. Health care and public health partners play an important role in catching children up on vaccines they need. This is important to prevent future outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases.
Vaccination gap data
Current childhood series vaccination status of 2-year-old children in Minnesota
- Data are for children who turned 2 years old between 1/1/2019 and 9/30/2023.
- Childhood series: 4+ DTaP, 3+ Polio, 1+ MMR, Complete Hib, Complete Hep B, 1+ Varicella, Complete PCV.
- Up to date by 2 years: Received childhood series prior to 24 months.
- Caught up to date: Received childhood series as of 10/4/2023.
- HP 2030: Represents Healthy People 2030 measure for childhood vaccinations.
Comparing children who turned 2 years old in 2019 to those who turned 2 between 2020 and 2022, there is a decrease in children completing their childhood series by 24 months (dark blue bar). Preliminary 2023 data show an increase in children completing their childhood series by 24 months compared to 2022. However, childhood series immunization rates by 24 months continue to remain lower than pre-pandemic levels. In order to get kids back on track, not only do we need to maintain the percentage of children up to date, but we also need to increase the number of children getting caught up (represented by the green bar).
Current kindergarten series vaccination status of 6-year-old children in Minnesota
- Data are for children who turned 6 years old between 1/1/2019-9/30/2023.
- Kindergarten series: Complete DTaP, Complete Polio, 2+ MMR, Complete Hep B, 2+ Varicella.
- Up to date by 6 years: Received kindergarten series prior to 6th birthday.
- Caught up to date: Received kindergarten series as of 10/4/2023.
- HP 2030: Represents Healthy People 2030 measure for kindergarten vaccinations.
Compared to children who turned 6 years old in 2019, those who turned 6 from 2020 to 2021 show a small decrease in the rate of children completing the kindergarten series by 6 years old. Children who turned 6 years old in 2022 and the first quarter of 2023 show an increase in the completion of the kindergarten series by 6 years old, but rates are still lower than before the pandemic (2019). In order to increase vaccination rates, we need to maintain the percentage of children up to date, and to increase the number of children getting caught up (represented by the green bar).
Current Tdap/MenACWY vaccination status of 13-year-old children in Minnesota
- Data are for children who turned 13 years old between 1/1/2019 and 9/30/2023.
- Tdap/MenACWY: 1+Tdap, 1+ MenACWY.
- Up to date by 13 years old: Received Tdap/MenACWY prior to 13th birthday.
- Caught up to date: Received Tdap/MenACWY as of 10/4/2023.
- HP 2030: Represents Healthy People 2030 measure for adolescent vaccinations.
Adolescent vaccination rates also declined from 2019 to 2020-2021. Adolescents who turned 13 years old in 2022 saw an increase in vaccination rates compared to 2021. Preliminary 2023 data show a large increase in adolescents receiving Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis vaccine) and MenACWY (meningococcal vaccine) by 13 years old compared to 2022. In order to increase vaccination rates, not only do we need to maintain the percentage of children up to date, but we also need to increase the number of adolescents getting caught up (represented by the green bar).
Current childhood series vaccination status of Minnesota children who turned 2 years old in 2022
Current kindergarten series vaccination status of Minnesota children who turned 6 years old in 2022
Current Tdap/MenACWY vaccination status of Minnesota children who turned 13 years old in 2022
Considerations for health care providers
How public health and health care professionals can help
Health care providers will have a larger number of routine vaccinations to do before sending kids back to school this fall due to missed primary care visits during the pandemic. Don't miss an opportunity to strongly recommend vaccines to children and adolescents. Vaccinate them or refer them to a place where they can get vaccine. School vaccination requirements remain in place to help ensure kids are safe and healthy in school.
Catch kids up on vaccines they need before heading back to school.
- Vaccines for Infants, Children, and Adolescents
This web page includes a number of helpful resources to know what vaccines are recommended at what ages and information on immunization laws in Minnesota.
- Are Your Kids Ready? and When to Get Vaccines, Birth to 16 Years (PDF) Offers information on what vaccines are needed by age and for enrolling in child care, early childhood programs, and school in Minnesota.
- Teens Need Vaccines, Too! (PDF)
Provides information on what vaccines are needed for adolescents by age including COVID-19 vaccine.
- CDC: Routine Immunizations on Schedule for Everyone (RISE)
Initiative to provide actionable strategies, resources, and data to support getting all Americans back on-schedule with their routine immunizations to protect everyone from vaccine-preventable diseases.
- CDC: Resources for Encouraging Routine Childhood Vaccinations
Resources to support health professionals in promoting childhood immunization and offering vaccine.
Strongly recommend and vaccinate children and adolescents with COVID-19 vaccine.
- Pediatric COVID-19 Vaccination
Information on COVID-19 vaccination for this age group, including tips and information to share with parents.
- CDC: Stay Up to Date with COVID-19 Vaccines Including Boosters
Information on getting vaccinated for COVID-19 and staying up to date.
- CDC: Clinical Guidance: Timing, spacing, interchangeability, and coadministration of COVID-19 vaccines
You can administer COVID-19 vaccine at the same time as other vaccines.
Use MIIC to identify children who are behind
- Immunization Assessment: MIIC User Guidance and Training Resources
MIIC's assessment reports can be used to track childhood and adolescent immunization rates among your patient population.
- Client Follow-Up: MIIC User Guidance and Training Resources
MIIC can generate a list of due and overdue patients for recommended vaccines to send reminders.
Identify barriers to keep kids on track
- Free or Low-Cost Shots for Children
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the landscape for how families access health care. Some people may have lost health care benefits due to business closures.
- How to Enroll in the MnVFC Program
If you are a Minnesota Vaccines for Children (MnVFC) provider, promote the MnVFC program to families, especially those who may be newly eligible. If you are not a MnVFC provider, consider enrolling.