As pediatric practices work to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic and still provide routine care, concerns about missed opportunities to vaccinate children are growing. Pediatricians across the country are reporting that some parents are cancelling routine checkups and vaccination appointments, including for first-time vaccinations for infants, according to an April 11 article in The Washington Post. Many practices are also delaying booster shots for older children, the article noted. A similar report appeared in The New York Times on April 23.

The Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC) recently issued guidance for maintaining immunizations during the current pandemic in the U.S., as has the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Physicians. Globally, more than 117 million children in 37 countries may not receive measles vaccines, according to the Measles & Rubella Initiative, a partnership founded by the American Red Cross, CDC, UNICEF, the United Nations Foundation, and the World Health Organization. Measles immunization campaigns in 24 countries have already been delayed, the group said in an April 14 news release.

The concerns come as health care providers, advocates, and others prepare to mark National Infant Immunization Week (April 25 - May 2) and World Immunization Week (April 24 - 30), annual observances that highlight the benefits of vaccination in the U.S and around the world.