Childhood vaccinations have plummeted in the US amid the coronavirus pandemic, a new report finds.
Between March and May 2020, 1.7 million fewer vaccinations for children up to age two - who are covered under Medicare or the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) - were administered.
That's a 22 percent decline from the same time period in 2019, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) revealed on Wednesday.
A new report from CMS looked at children who are covered under Medicare or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (file image)
Between March and May 2020, 1.7 million fewer vaccinations for children up to age two were administered - a 22% decline (above)
According to CMS, 9.6 million children were enrolled in CHIP in 2018, the most recent year for which data is available.
Children are deemed eligible if they come from in families with incomes too high to qualify for Medicaid, but too low to afford private coverage
Vaccination rates weren't just lower this year from the year before. They were also lower as 2020 went on.
Immunization rates dropped from nearly 700 jabs per 1,000 beneficiaries in January 2020 to about 460 per 1,000 beneficiaries in May 2020.
While some states are seeing inoculations return to levels not seen since February, others are only worsening.
The report found that Alabama, Connecticut, Kentucky, Nebraska and North Carolina had the highest rates among children under age two as of May 2020 with about 700 to 800 vaccinations per 1,000 beneficiaries.
Meanwhile, Arizona, California, the District of Columbia, Hawaii and the US Virgin Island had the lowest rates.
Rates were between 100 and 200 vaccinations per 1,000 beneficiaries around May 2020.
'To ensure that children catch up on their missed vaccines we need vaccination rates to not only approach those of 2019, but to be much higher, in order to mitigate the 22 percent dip during the early part of the COVID-19,' CMS said in a statement.