AUSTIN (KXAN) — Pediatricians are sounding the alarm over a major drop in vaccination rates among Texas babies.
A new study by Texas A&M University found that when comparing vaccination rates from 2019 to 2020, five-month-old Texas babies saw a 47% decline, while 16-month-olds saw an even more startling 58% decline.
A relatively small 5% decline was noted in two-year-olds, while newborn babies saw their vaccination rates hold steady.
“These are not diseases we want to have back, so it’s very alarming to me to see this trend,” said Superior HealthPlan Chief Medical Officer and Pediatrician Dr. David Harmon.
Among those tracked were the Hepatitis B, Rotavirus, DTap, Hib, Polio, MMR, PCV, and Varicella vaccines.
“Our results also showed the the decline was larger among the rural communities than the urban communities which could have indicated disruption in vaccine delivery as well,” said Lead Researcher Tasmiah Nuzhath.
At just 26-years-old, the Texas A&M doctoral student said she was curious about trends in Texas after other states began reporting large vaccination decreases.
She said fear of contracting COVID-19 was the primary reason parents cited for failing to keep their child up-to-date on their vaccines.
Nationally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted significant declines in childhood vaccination rates, including a more than 50% decline in measles-containing vaccinations, according to the study.
“We need to all be encouraging each other to get this done, because it really is a community effort,” Harmon said.