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Drop in child vaccination rates raise measles outbreak concerns in US

Drop in child vaccination rates raise measles outbreak concerns in US
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Researchers have documented a drop in child vaccination rates in Michigan since restrictions were imposed to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, raising concern about outbreaks of other diseases such as measles, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a report on Monday

Washington: Researchers have documented a drop in child vaccination rates in Michigan since restrictions were imposed to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, raising concern about outbreaks of other diseases such as measles, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a report on Monday.

The findings by the CDC researchers indicated that stay-at-home orders during the pandemic like those imposed in Michigan and other US states may be reducing accessibility to routine immunisation services and exposing children to risks from vaccine-preventable diseases.

Data from Michigan's state immunisation information system showed that just under half of 5-month-old infants were up to date for all recommended vaccines this month, compared to approximately two thirds of infants in May of the previous four years, the CDC researchers said in their report.

The researchers examined vaccine doses given to children at ages one, three, five, seven, 16, 19 and 24 months this year and the prior four years.

In the 16-month age group, coverage with all recommended vaccines declined. The rate of measles vaccinations in particular fell to 71% this year from 76% last year.

In addition to a decline in up-to-date status in almost all age groups, the number of non-influenza vaccine doses given to children under age 24 months dropped more than 15 per cent from January through April of this year compared to the same period the previous two years, the researchers found.

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