Pfizer Foundation Awards Grant to the Maryland Department of Health to Address Decreases in Childhood Vaccinations During COVID-19 Pandemic

The Maryland Department of Health has been awarded a $250,000 grant from the Pfizer Foundation to address a steep decline in childhood vaccination rates statewide due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The grant will be used for communications, outreach and vaccination clinics in areas showing the most significant declines.

Childhood vaccinations across Maryland have fallen since the onset of COVID-19, mirroring a trend identified by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) nationwide. According to the MDH Immunization Information System, ImmuNet, the largest decrease in the number of vaccinations given to children 0-18 years of age was in April 2020 with a decrease of 46% when compared with April 2019. In June 2020, that percent decrease was reduced to 14% when compared with June 2019.

For childhood vaccines, the largest decreases were seen in the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine, with a decrease of 65% in April 2020 compared to April 2019. By June that decrease was reduced to 16% when compared to June 2019.

“Childhood vaccines are not optional – they are essential for keeping young people safe from infectious diseases. We urge all Marylanders to get their children vaccinated as soon as possible to reverse this dangerous trend,” said Governor Larry Hogan. “It is important that we protect our youngest and most vulnerable Marylanders against multiple diseases, not just COVID-19.”

“We continue to coordinate with community and health partners to make vaccinations easily available, but also safe for families during this pandemic,” said Secretary of Health Robert R. Neall. “MDH has worked closely with pediatricians and primary care providers across the state to ensure safety measures, such as social distancing, are firmly in place

Funding agencies:

Countries: United States

Published: 2020-07-23

Sectors: Health