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Expand chart
Data: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Chart: Michelle McGhee/Axios

The sharp decline in routine childhood immunizations following stay-at-home orders last spring reversed considerably by the fall. But it "was not sufficient to achieve catch-up coverage," a new report out from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Thursday shows.

Why it matters: Children behind on their shots for preventable diseases like measles and whooping cough could pose a "serious public health threat" to themselves and others, especially if mask mandates are no longer in place by the return for in-person schooling this fall.

In recent years, some states were already struggling to reach acceptable immunization rates for mandatory vaccines, such as those for measles, mumps, and rubella.

  • As an example of the consequence, officials say, a measles outbreak occurred in Rockland County, N.Y., and surrounding counties in the 2018-2019 school year. Measles vaccination coverage in those schools was only 77%, far below the 93%–95% coverage needed to sustain herd immunity, the report cites.

What's happening: Routine vaccines for various age groups for diphtheria, tetanus and acellular pertussis; MMR and the human papillomavirus were analyzed in several states across the U.S.

  • All immunizations were drastically down from March to May 2020, compared to 2018 and 2019 levels. They remained down several percentage points from June through September.

Zoom in: MMR shots decreased between 22% and 63%. Though an improvement, shots in June through September were still down approximately by 9%-11%.

  • Routine HPV vaccinations were down between 64%-71% in the spring. The U.S. was administering 12%-28% less shots between June and September than years prior.

Of note: The CDC changed its guidance last month to allow COVID shots to be given at the same time as others, so providers should consider scheduling all at once if a child is eligible as to not overburden the health care system, the agency says.

The bottom line: "Even a transient decline in vaccination coverage can compromise herd immunity and result in the propagation of outbreaks," per the report.

Go deeper

3,000 unruly passenger reports made to FAA this year

Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Airlines have reported some 3,000 cases of unruly behavior by passengers to the Federal Aviation Administration this year — including 2,300 for refusing to comply with face mask mandates, the FAA announced Monday.

Why it matters: Passenger numbers remain below pre-pandemic levels. But the FAA is investigating the highest number of suspected federal law violations since it began recording unruly passenger incidents in 1995, per ABC News.

Cashier killed after face mask policy dispute in Georgia grocery store

An Atlanta area grocery store cashier was killed and three other people were injured in a shooting following a dispute over a face mask policy in the supermarket Monday, police said.

Driving the news: DeKalb County Sheriff Melody Maddox said during a news conference that the female cashier was working at the Big Bear Supermarket in Decatur when she was shot following a "confrontation" over the wearing of masks.

House panel to investigate Trump-era DOJ data seizures

Photo: James Devaney via Getty Images

The House Judiciary Committee will launch a formal probe into the Trump-era Justice Department's seizure of data from devices belonging to members of Congress, their aides, journalists and then-White House counsel, panel chair Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) announced Monday.

Why it matters: Though it's so far unclear if the cases are related, they raise "serious constitutional and separation of power concerns," Nadler said in a statement.