Before the pandemic, the United States had maintained nearly 95 percent nationwide vaccination coverage for 10 years.
Yet between 2020 and 2021, vaccine coverage in kindergarten-aged children fell to 94 percent; between 2021 and 2022, it dropped to 93 percent.
"It is not clear whether this reflects a true increase in opposition to vaccination, or if parents are opting for nonmedical [vaccine] exemptions because of barriers to vaccination or out of convenience," the report authors concluded.
"Whether because of an increase in hesitancy or barriers to vaccination, the COVID-19 pandemic affected childhood routine vaccination," they continued.
Post-COVID Skepticism Spilling Into Vaccine Skepticism
Dr. Cody Meissner, a professor of pediatrics at the Dartmouth Geisel School of Medicine, was concerned that people's skepticism toward the current COVID-19 vaccines may have also affected their attitude toward conventional vaccines, leading to the decline in CDC-recommended and state-required vaccinations, as recently reported by the CDC.
He suggested that the CDC's initial delayed recognition of myocarditis as a COVID vaccine side effect in adolescents and young adults, coupled with the agency's encouragement to vaccinate, as one example of what may be contributing to people's distrust.