Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Routine Pediatric Vaccine Ordering and Administration — United States, 2020


On March 13, 2020, the president of the United States declared a national emergency in response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic (1). With reports of laboratory-confirmed cases in all 50 states by that time (2), disruptions were anticipated in the U.S. health care system’s ability to continue providing routine preventive and other nonemergency care. In addition, many states and localities issued shelter-in-place or stay-at-home orders to reduce the spread of COVID-19, limiting movement outside the home to essential activities (3). On March 24, CDC posted guidance emphasizing the importance of routine well child care and immunization, particularly for children aged ≤24 months, when many childhood vaccines are recommended.* Two data sources were examined to assess the impact of the pandemic on pediatric vaccination in the United States: Vaccines for Children Program (VFC) provider order data from CDC’s Vaccine Tracking System and Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD) vaccine administration data. Vaccination coverage is the traditional metric used to assess vaccine usage; however, provider orders and doses administered represent two immediately available proxy measures.