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A Reminder of the Importance of Vaccines

Jyothi Patri, MD, MHA, FAAFP, addresses the disturbing decline and importance of routine vaccinations for children and gives tips on how providers can be proactive in getting patients back to the office. The community can do their part by ensuring their children continue to get the vaccines needed to prevent outbreaks.

We, as physicians, understand the importance of vaccination especially during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) have warned about the decline in well-child visits and vaccination levels which are an essential preventive measures and could be life- saving for many in our community.

There has been a substantial reduction in both ordering and administration of vaccinations. A WHO report on July 15, 2020 indicates a significant decline in the number of children completing the three doses of the vaccine against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DTP3). This is the first time in 28 years the world has seen a reduction in DTP3 coverage, which is a marker for immunization coverage within and across countries.

Decline in Vaccinations from January 2020 to April 2020(Source: cdc.gov)

The substantial drop in vaccine ordering and doses administered indicates the future challenge of increased risks of outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases in our communities.

As schools open and classes are online, parents might be more reluctant to bring children in for school-mandated vaccines. We are aware of the parental concern about potentially exposing their children to COVID-19 during well child visits, but primary care physicians can play a pivotal role in addressing this issue.

  • Reminding parents of the fundamental need to protect children of serious vaccine-preventable diseases is critical even in the presence of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Sending reminder letters for appointments to patients who are due for well-child check and/or vaccination
  • Reminder calls for school-mandated vaccines though school is via zoom.
  • Placing flyers in the office about the importance of vaccinations
  • Having a section on healthcare organization/clinic websites about vaccination importance and reminders for patients and parents.

Stay safe, and remember, we are a critical voice in the health of our patients!


Santoli JM, Lindley MC, DeSilva MB, et al. Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Routine Pediatric Vaccine Ordering and Administration — United States, 2020. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2020;69:591–593. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6919e2


Jyothi Patri, MD, MHA, FAAFP

About the Author: Jyothi Patri, MD, MHA, FAAFP is an Assistant Clinical Professor with University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), and part of the UCSF Fresno Family and Community Medicine Department.