Plus, the latest pharmacy and healthcare news to know this week
Routine vaccinations for children in the U.S. have declined as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The CDC has raised concerns that the lower vaccination rates could lead to future measles outbreaks.
Why It Matters
A recent CDC report analyzed vaccination rates of children between 1 and 24 months in Michigan. The study found that vaccination coverage for all ages declined, with the exception of the hepatitis B vaccine, which is administered at birth. Noninfluenza vaccinations administered to children 18 years and under decreased 21.5% from January to April compared to the same time periods in 2018 and 2019. In children 24 months and under, the number dropped 15.5% during the same time period. Measles vaccinations decreased from 76% in 2019 to 71% this year.
The reduction in doctor visits due to the ongoing pandemic is one of the major causes of the decline in vaccinations. However, the CDC warns that this trend could leave children and communities susceptible to vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles, which experienced a major outbreak last year. In order to get children up-to-date on their immunizations, the organization recommended a number of measures including dedicating specific spaces for visits, reducing the number of patients on site, and administering vaccinations in vehicles. Pharmacists able to offer these vaccinations can help speed up the process by providing more access points for parents, particularly in areas where a pharmacy is more easily accessible.
Other healthcare news to know:
1. Seventy-two percent of Americans have changed healthcare plans due to the pandemic with a majority either delaying or planning to delay major procedures. Fierce Healthcare.
2. PQA recognized 24 Medicare plan contracts with quality awards for high achievement or significant improvement in medication safety measures. Pharmacy Times.
3. In a letter to Congress, over 240 patient advocacy and healthcare groups urged lawmakers to include DIR reform in the next coronavirus economic stimulus bill. APhA.
4. An experimental COVID-19 vaccine from Moderna has shown promising results, according to early data from the company. Reuters.
5. The Department of Health and Human Services is relaxing enforcement of security measures on COVID-19 testing sites. NextGov.