Changes in childhood vaccination during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic in Japan


Results In all cities the decrease in vaccine doses administered was most apparent in March and April 2020, i.e., just before or coincident with the declaration of a nationwide COVID-19 emergency on April 7, 2020. The decrease started as early as February in the Tokyo metropolitan area. As child age increased, the decrease became more apparent. Before the lift of national emergency on May 25, catch-up of the vaccination was observed in all age groups in all cities. Vaccine doses persistently increased in older age groups but not in infants. The overall vaccination trends did not differ significantly among the 4 cities. Conclusions The COVID-19 pandemic significantly affected routine childhood immunization in Japan. Thus, a nationwide electronic surveillance system and announcements for guardians to encourage timely routine immunization are warranted.