06/10/22 Health Advisory: Routine childhood immunization rates down

Individual with stethoscope and young child on exam table

Requested actions

  • Bring your child and adolescent patients’ vaccinations up to date at every opportunity.
  • Contact families who missed well-child visits or childhood vaccinations and ask them to come in for an appointment.
  • Explain to families why it’s important to keep children’s and adolescents’ vaccinations up to date.
  • Review Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) child and adolescent immunization schedule.

Background

On May 12, 2022, Washington State Department of Health (DOH) announced many children are behind on routine vaccinations compared to pre-pandemic levels. The report found, from June 2019 to December 2021, immunization rates dropped:

  • 9.6% in children 19–35 months old.
  • 3.9% in children 4–6 years old.
  • 3.6% in children 11–12 years old.

COVID-19 stay at home orders and concerns about COVID transmission may have resulted in healthcare providers having fewer opportunities to give vaccinations.

No matter the reason, we must raise childhood immunization rates.

If rates continue to decline, our region may experience lower levels of community immunity. This could put children and others at increased risk for mumps, measles, whooping cough and other vaccine-preventable diseases.

We’re here to help.

In the coming months, we will:

  • Offer consultation and support to healthcare providers, including pediatricians, family care physicians and pharmacies.
  • Learn from healthcare providers and pharmacies about the drop in immunization rates.
  • Help schools provide vaccine info to families.

How can we help you raise immunization rates? Let us know!

Questions?

Contact Cowlitz County Health & Human Services at (360) 414-5599.