According to the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), 2020-21 school immunization data showed a troubling drop in the percentage of kindergarten and seventh-grade students fully vaccinated. Coverage for kindergarten students dropped by 3 percentage points for MMR, Varicella, DTaP, and Polio, when comparing the 2019-20 kindergarten cohort to the 2020-21 cohort. Larger decreases in coverage for the vaccines required for seventh-grade students were also noted. Tdap and meningococcal coverage dropped by 8 percentage points and 7 percentage points, respectively.
There are ways you can reach out to patients who need immunizations to get back on track:
- You can use the Minnesota Immunization Information Connection (MIIC) to assess immunization rates for your patient population. Find more information at Immunization Assessment.
- Conduct reminders or recalls. You can send notices by mail, email, phone call, or text message. MIIC’s “client follow-up” feature supports reminder/recall efforts by helping you identify patients due or overdue for immunizations and providing several tools that can help you follow up.
- Consider holding immunization-only clinics to streamline vaccination and save time for parents. Walk-in or immunization-only visits offered in the late afternoon, evening, and weekend hours allow families to fit quick, unplanned appointments into their busy schedules.
Help MNAAP spread the word about the importance of keeping kids on track for childhood and adolescent immunizations, particularly as an emergency use authorization of the COVID-19 vaccine is expected soon for 12 to 15-year-olds. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) currently recommends a minimum interval of 14 days before and after COVID-19 vaccines in which no other vaccines can be administered. This means that there could be as much as an eight-week period in which a patient cannot receive other immunizations, depending on which COVID-19 vaccine they receive.