Infant Health Care Disruptions by Race and Ethnicity, Income, and Insurance During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Acad Pediatr. 2024 Jan-Feb;24(1):105-110. doi: 10.1016/j.acap.2023.07.005. Epub 2023 Jul 23.

Abstract

Objective: Research has found disruptions in pediatric care during the COVID-19 pandemic, likely exacerbating existing disparities, which has not been explored among infants. This study evaluated how infant health care was disrupted during the COVID-19 pandemic overall and by race and ethnicity, income, and insurance type.

Methods: This cross-sectional study used the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System COVID-19 supplement with data from 29 jurisdictions to examine infant health care disruptions due to the pandemic: 1) well visits/checkups canceled or delayed, 2) well visits/checkups changed to virtual appointments, and 3) postponed immunizations. Unadjusted, weighted proportions of outcomes were calculated overall and by race and ethnicity, income, and insurance. We estimated multivariable odds ratios for the association between infant care disruptions and race and ethnicity, income, and insurance.

Results: Overall, among 12,053 parental respondents with infants born from April to December 2020, 7.25% reported cancelations or delays in infant well visits/checkups, 5.49% reported changes to virtual infant care appointments, and 5.33% reported postponing immunizations, with significant differences by race and ethnicity, income, and insurance type. In adjusted analyses, we found higher odds of canceling/delaying visits and postponing immunizations among non-Hispanic Black infants and infants whose parents were uninsured or had Medicaid-paid deliveries. The odds of switching to virtual appointments were significantly higher among Hispanic infants and infants whose parents had Medicaid-paid deliveries.

Conclusions: Study findings suggest that the COVID-19 pandemic particularly affected infant health care for non-Hispanic Black infants and infants whose parents were uninsured or had Medicaid, with important implications for addressing infant health inequities and improving health outcomes in the United States.

Keywords: COVID-19 pandemic; health care disparities; infant health care; preventive health services; vaccinations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19*
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Ethnicity*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Care
  • Infant Health
  • Insurance, Health
  • Pandemics
  • Pregnancy
  • United States / epidemiology