As Americans get vaccinated against the coronavirus, a report released Wednesday found that teens and adults may have missed millions of routine vaccinations recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2020.
The study, commissioned by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and conducted by Avalere Health, analyzed vaccine requests from January to November 2020 and compared them with the same time period in 2019.
Researchers found that adolescents and adults may have missed more than 26 million doses of recommended vaccines in 2020, including 8.8 million missed adolescent vaccines and 17.2 million missed adult vaccine doses.
“Millions of people have been immunized to protect themselves against COVID, but many lack protection against other diseases,” said Dr. Leonard Friedland, vice president and director of scientific affairs and public health at GSK Vaccines . “As life returns to normal, we must make it a priority for people to catch up on their missed vaccines. ”
Vaccine demands were up to 35% lower for adolescents in 2020 compared to 2019, and demands for adults were up to 40% lower.
Despite public health warnings of a possible ‘twinemia’, a scenario in which hospitals could be plagued by both coronavirus infections and influenza, overall influenza vaccination rates declined in 2020.
According to the study, requests for flu shots from August to September 2020 exceeded the same months in 2019. Flares leveled off in October, leaving total requests from September to November 2020 up to 35% of less than in 2019.
The study only analyzed vaccine claims in the commercial, managed markets of Medicaid, Medicare Advantage, and Fee-for-Service Medicare, Part B. Neha Vyas said the data results closely match his experience. at the Cleveland Clinic as a family physician.
“We made an effort to say that this coronavirus was a respiratory virus, then those who feared the (flu) vaccine might run out received it early, but then it kind of faltered,” he said. she declared. “As the pandemic took effect and the second and third waves hit us, there were people who were unwilling to venture out for routine preventive care.”
The GSK study is one of the first reports to track missed vaccinations in adults last year. A November 2020 study by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association estimated that 9 million doses of childhood immunizations may have been missed by the end of 2020 due to the pandemic.
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Vyas said vaccinations for adolescents and adults do not have as much visibility as vaccinations for children, but they are just as important to follow.
“The reality is that vaccines don’t stop at pediatric populations,” she said. “It is important to remember that vaccines are needed in adolescents, young adults and older adults.”
The CDC recommends that adults get vaccinated against pneumonia, shingles, and hepatitis A, while teens should be vaccinated against certain types of meningitis and the human papillomavirus (HPV). Diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (Tdap), as well as an annual flu shot, are recommended by the agency for teens and adults.
Other vaccines analyzed by study researchers included injections against haemophilus influenzae (Hib), hepatitis B, chickenpox and measles, mumps and rubella (MMR).
It’s not too late to get the shot, Vyas said. The CDC updated its guidelines on May 14, dropping an earlier recommendation that people should wait at least 14 days between receiving the COVID-19 vaccine and any other vaccine.
This means that patients can ask their doctors to receive missed vaccines while being vaccinated for COVID-19, Vyas said.
“It’s time, it’s time for your preventive maintenance. Don’t procrastinate, ”she said. “We are here and we are ready to resume care. “
Follow Adrianna Rodriguez on Twitter: @AdriannaUSAT.
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