Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on adolescent vaccinations: projected time to reverse deficits in routine adolescent vaccination in the United States

Current Medical Research and Opinion, 2021


The COVID-19 pandemic has led to significant reductions in the administration of routinely recommended vaccines among adolescents in the US including tetanus, diphtheria, and acellular pertussis (Tdap); meningococcal (ACWY); and human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines. The extent to which these deficits could persist in 2021 and beyond is unclear. To address this knowledge gap, this study estimated the cumulative deficits of routine vaccine doses among US adolescents during the COVID-19 pandemic and estimated the time and effort needed to recover from those deficits.


Monthly reductions in Tdap, meningococcal, and HPV doses administered to US adolescents during the COVID-19 pandemic were quantified using MarketScan Commercial Claims and Encounters data. The time and effort required to reverse the vaccination deficit under various catch-up scenarios were estimated.


Annual doses administered of Tdap, meningococcus, and HPV vaccines decreased by 21.2%, 20.8%, and 24.0%, respectively, in 2020 compared to 2019. For 2021, the reduction in doses administered is projected to be 6%-21% compared to 2019 under different scenarios. The projected deficit of missed doses is expected to be cleared between winter 2023 and fall 2031.


Administration rates of routine vaccines decreased significantly among US adolescents during COVID-19. Reversing these deficits to mitigate long-term health and economic consequences will require a sustained increase in vaccination rates over multiple years.

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Saxena K, Marden JR, Carias C, Bhatti A, Patterson-Lomba O, Gomez-Lievano A, Yao L, Chen YT