The Risk of Resurgence in Vaccine-Preventable Infections Due to Coronavirus Disease 2019-Related Gaps in Immunization

Clin Infect Dis. 2021 Nov 16;73(10):1920-1923. doi: 10.1093/cid/ciab127.


Nationally, immunization delivery has decreased significantly during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Internationally, >60 national vaccine programs have been disrupted or suspended. As a result of these immunization declines, the global community is at risk for a resurgence in vaccine-preventable infections including measles, pertussis, and polio-all highly contagious diseases that result in significant morbidity and mortality in children. Measles outbreaks have already occurred in many countries that suspended their vaccination programs. Outbreaks in the United States are likely to occur when social distancing stops and children return to school. Healthcare providers have acted quickly to institute multiple risk mitigation strategies to restore vaccine administration. However, childhood immunization rates remain below pre-COVID-19 levels. Partnerships between healthcare providers, community leaders, and local, state, regional, and national public health departments are needed to reassure families that vaccine delivery during COVID-19 is safe and to identify and catch up those children who are underimmunized.

Keywords: COVID-19; measles; pertussis; vaccine-preventable infections.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19*
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Immunization
  • Immunization Programs
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Vaccination
  • Vaccines*


  • Vaccines