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Child vaccination rates in Maryland rebound after pandemic

Thought Leader: Leana Wen
November 13, 2023
Source: WYPR

Vaccination rates among children for diseases like polio, mumps, measles and tetanus have rebounded since the pandemic and now are above the national average.

A new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report found that vaccination rates among children around five years of age was about 97%.

That’s a turnaround from the 2020-2021 school year, when Maryland reported only 87% of kindergarten-age children receiving those shots.

“During the pandemic, children in particular may have missed going to their annual visits or their once every six months visit, and therefore may have missed the time for their routine childhood immunizations,” said Dr. Leana Wen, former Baltimore health commissioner and professor of public health at George Washington University.

While Maryland has rebounded, the rest of the nation has not. The national average for children vaccination rate is hovering at about 93%, that’s lower than the 95% average has been holding steady over the last 10 years.

“This is something that the CDC has clear guidelines on and that pediatricians offices all know how to do,” Wen said. “If your child has missed their vaccinations, say at age two, and now they’re three, they can still catch up. And it’s really important to do that. It’s important to protect the population and make sure that these dangerous diseases don’t make a recurrence.”

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