WA childhood immunization rates decline during pandemic

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Washington state health officials say a new report shows routine childhood immunization rates have decreased during the pandemic, dropping by 13% in 2021 when compared to pre-pandemic levels. The Washington State Department of Health says the report shows the drop was most noticeable in young children. In response, the Department of Health, health care providers and other agencies are working with people to catch up and remain current on routine immunizations. Washington state provides all recommended childhood vaccines at no cost to children through the age of 18. State chief science officer Dr. Tao Sheng Kwan-Gett says vaccines are the best tools we have to protect kids from getting sick from preventable diseases.