Provision of Pediatric Immunization Services During the COVID-19 Pandemic: an Assessment of Capacity Among Pediatric Immunization Providers Participating in the Vaccines for Children Program — United States, May 2020

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2020
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Recent reports suggest that routine childhood immunization coverage might have decreased during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic (1,2). To assess the capacity of pediatric health care practices to provide immunization services to children during the pandemic, a survey of practices participating in the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program was conducted during May 12-20, 2020. Data were weighted to account for the sampling design; thus, all percentages reported are weighted. Among 1,933 responding practices, 1,727 (89.8%) were currently open; 1,397 (81.1%) of these reported offering immunization services to all of their patients. When asked whether the practice would likely be able to accommodate new patients to assist with provision of immunization services through August, 1,135 (59.1%) respondents answered affirmatively. These results suggest that health care providers appear to have the capacity to deliver routinely recommended childhood vaccines, allowing children to catch up on vaccines that might have been delayed as a result of COVID-19-related effects on the provision of or demand for routine well child care. Health care providers and immunization programs should educate parents on the need to return for well-child and immunization visits or refer patients to other practices, if they are unable to provide services (3).