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AAP survey reveals barriers to routine immunizations

June 1, 2024

More than two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, about half of U.S. primary care pediatricians reported a decrease in patients receiving routine childhood vaccinations and expected more vaccine hesitancy in the future.

These findings come from an AAP Periodic Survey conducted from August 2022 to January 2023.

Nearly all the pediatricians surveyed (94%) reported having at least one family in their practice ask to delay a routine childhood vaccine, and 91% reported that at least one family refused a vaccine in the past year.

When asked to identify barriers to timely vaccination delivery in their practice, more than half of pediatricians reported parental hesitancy and missed well-child visits were moderate or significant barriers (see figure). Another commonly reported barrier was parents’ mistrust of pharmaceutical and physician organizations. Lack of vaccine supply and onsite vaccine storage rarely were cited as barriers.

Nearly all pediatricians (93%) thought counseling families at their practice about the benefits of routine childhood vaccines is very (12%), moderately (29%) or somewhat (52%) effective in overcoming parental hesitation.

When asked about expectations with vaccine hesitancy in the future, 49% expected about the same hesitancy, 47% expected more and 4% expected less.

The 2022 Periodic Survey was sent to 1,634 nonretired AAP members in the U.S.; residents were excluded from the sample. The response rate was 33%.

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