Study shows many U.S. children missed routine pediatric visits during pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic and early efforts to stop the spread led many in the U.S. to delay non-emergency and elective medical care. Evidence suggests that missed care during the pandemic may have contributed to increased mortality in adults from causes other than COVID-19, but there is little research on the prevalence of missed routine pediatric visits among U.S. children.

To investigate, CUNY SPH Assistant Professor Chloe Teasdale and colleagues from the CUNY Institute for Implementation Science in Population Health (ISPH) led a study published this month in Preventive Medicine.

In March 2021, the researchers conducted a cross-sectional online survey of 2,074 U.S. parents of children 12 years and younger to measure the proportion of children who missed pediatric care and vaccinations over the first 12 months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Overall, 41.3% of parents reported that their youngest child missed a routine medical visit due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Missed care was more common among children older than two years and among Hispanic children. A third of parents also reported their child had missed a vaccination.

The data, along with reports from vaccine registries showing decreased vaccination uptake and coverage are very concerning, particularly as the country returns to pre-pandemic activities, including in-person education.

“Delayed or missed pediatric care, including missed vaccinations, could have significant long-term impact on the health of children, their families and communities,” says Teasdale. “Catch-up efforts are needed to ensure continuity of preventive care for all children.”

Missed routine pediatric care and vaccinations in US children during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Chloe A. Teasdale, Luisa N. Borrell, Yanhan Shen, Spencer Kimball, Rebecca Zimba, Sarah Kulkarni, Madhura Rane, Michael L. Rinke, Sasha A. Fleary, Denis Nash, Preventive Medicine, May 2022. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2022.107025.

About the Institute for Implementation Science in Population Health at the City University of New York
The CUNY Institute for Implementation Science in Population Health (ISPH) was founded on the notion that substantial improvements in population health can be efficiently achieved through better implementation of existing strategies, policies, and interventions across multiple sectors. We study how to translate and scale-up evidence-based interventions and policies within clinical and community settings in order to improve population health and reduce health disparities. CUNY ISPH. Pursuing population health gains through better implementation. Follow us on Twitter: @CUNYISPH.

About the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy
The CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy (CUNY SPH) is committed to promoting and sustaining healthier populations in New York City and around the world through excellence in education, research, and service in public health and by advocating for sound policy and practice to advance social justice and improve health outcomes for all. For more information, visit