Washington childhood immunization rates decline during the pandemic

A new report shows routine childhood immunization rates decreased during the pandemic, dropping by 13% in 2021 when compared to pre-pandemic levels. The drop was most noticeable in young children.

The report shows vaccinations decreased 9.6% in the 19–35-month age group; 3.9% in the 4–6-year age group; and 3.6% in the 11–12-year age group. However, vaccinations increased 1.8% in the 13–17-year age group.

In response to the report, the Washington State Department of Health, health care providers and other agencies are working with families to catch up and stay current on routine immunizations.

Children need to be up to date on immunizations to attend pre-school, kindergarten, school, or childcare this fall.

Officials say scheduling well-child visits early ensure children can attend educational programs on time and can reduce the stress of finding a last-minute appointment. The Department of Health has online tools to help determine if a child is up to date on state immunization requirements. Washington state provides all recommended childhood vaccines at no cost to children through the age of 18.

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