Office visits and routine immunizations decreased during the pandemic. Beginning in Mid-March last year, routine immunization rates dropped significantly. Due to the National Emergency declared in the United States, these rates continued to decline into the late half the year. Looking at the Tdap vaccine, the national vaccination rate for all ages was down by 30%. The largest decline in vaccination was seen in the 19-64 age group, where rates were down by 32%.
As restrictions continue to ease up and over half the U.S. population has received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, routine immunizations are increasing. For the Tdap vaccine, the national vaccine rate among all ages is down 16%, and down 19% for the 19-64 age group. While this is an improvement from last year’s numbers, overall immunization rates continue to lag.
Routine immunizations are essential preventative care for children, adolescents, and adults that should not be delayed. It protects individuals and communities from vaccine-preventable diseases and outbreaks and prevents and/or reduces illnesses that lead to unnecessary medical visits, hospitalizations, and further strain on the healthcare system. Receiving influenza vaccination in the fall is critical to reduce the impact of respiratory illnesses in the population and resulting burden on the healthcare system.
To help recover and improve immunization rates, providers can implement the following strategies:
- Assess the vaccination status of all patients at every healthcare visit (in-person or telehealth) to identify patients who need catch-up vaccinations and reduce missed opportunities for vaccination
- Implement reminder-recall systems to identify patients who are due for or who have missed vaccine doses. (Leverage immunization information systems and electronic medical records)
- Implement standing orders to routinize assessment and administration of vaccines
During last month’s webinar, COVID-19 One Year Later: Vaccine Progress and New Standards for Vaccine Storage, Dr. L.J. Tan shared resources from the Immunization Action Coalition to help promote routine immunizations and help providers return immunization rates to pre COVID-19 levels. IAC’s Repository of Resources for Maintaining Immunization during the COVID-19 Pandemic includes links to international, national, and state-level policies and guidance and advocacy materials, including talking points, webinars, press releases, media articles, and social media posts, as well as telehealth resources.
As the COVID-19 vaccine rollout continues and the upcoming flu season only months away, it is important to ensure that every dose counts. Having the right type and capacity of cold storage is critical to maintaining effective vaccination, maximizing patient vaccination rates, and reducing vaccine wastage.
Helmer Scientific offers a full range of vaccine refrigerators, freezers and ultra-low temperature freezers specifically designed for the storage of vaccines. Our solutions provide safe and effective vaccine storage and help meet CDC guidelines and the emerging NSF standard for vaccine storage. We are prepared to support your storage needs, as we rise to these new vaccine challenges together.
OTHER BLOGS YOU MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN...
- Webinar Recap | COVID-19 One Year Later: Vaccine Progress and New Standards for Vaccine Storage
- Strategies for Tackling Vaccine Hesitancy
- Upcoming Standard for Vaccine Storage
- Rising to the challenge to support COVID-19 vaccine cold storage
Click the link below to view the entire webinar: COVID-19 One Year Later: Vaccine Progress and New Standards for Vaccine Storage.