Center for American Progress

RELEASE: Reversing the Decline in Routine Childhood Immunization Rates Is Good Health, Equity, and Economic Policy
Press Release

RELEASE: Reversing the Decline in Routine Childhood Immunization Rates Is Good Health, Equity, and Economic Policy

Washington D.C. — A growing population of unvaccinated children in the United States poses a threat to public health and the economy. A new CAP report details five ways policymakers can reverse the decline in routine childhood immunization rates to prevent disease and strengthen health, equity, and economic opportunity. 

Since the onset of the pandemic, there has been a troubling decline in childhood vaccination rates, deepening preexisting barriers to immunization rates such as inaccessible care, vaccine hesitancy, vaccine disinformation, and mistrust in the government and science. Today, the lowest rates of vaccination for young children are seen among Black and Hispanic children, uninsured children, and children living in rural communities. Given routine vaccination is one of the lowest-cost and most effective public health solutions, policymakers have the chance to boost vaccination rates to strengthen health equity and prevent millions of cases of diseases across the United States. 

This report examines five actions policymakers can take to reverse declining routine childhood vaccination rates and strengthen health equity. Some of the recommendations include boosting resources for immunization programs through the federal Vaccines for Children and Section 317 programs; increasing vaccine reimbursement to cover costs associated with vaccination; countering vaccine disinformation through effective messaging; and tightening and reinforcing school vaccine requirements. 

“The decline of routine childhood vaccination is concerning for child health and for the health of the communities in which they live. We need to close equity gaps, strengthen our childhood vaccination programs, and boost confidence in vaccines so that getting vaccinated is an easy and sensible choice. It’s one of the most cost-effective disease prevention actions we can take,” said Jill Rosenthal, director of Public Health at CAP and author of the report. 

Read the report: “Reversing the Decline in Routine Childhood Immunization Rates is Good Health, Equity, and Economic Policy” by Jill Rosenthal

For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, please contact Sarah Nadeau at [email protected]

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