A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released on January 13, 2023, announced a decline in state-required vaccinations among kindergarten students for the second year in a row. The immunization rate dropped from 94% to 93% during the 2021-2022 school year, continuing a slide from 95% to 94% that began during the 2020-2021 school year.
The CDC concern, shared by clinicians and public health officials nationwide, is that even though the return to in-person learning is now nearly universal, disruptions in health care set in motion by the COVID-19 pandemic persist.
American Academy of Family Physicians president Tochi Iroku-Malize, MD, MPH, MBA, spoke recently with Patient Care® about the headlines and about the impact of COVID-19-driven remote learning on vaccine uptake and also on school-based vaccine exemptions.
Tochi Iroku-Malize, MD, MPH, a family physician in Long Island, New York, is current president of the American Academy of Family Physicians. Iroku-Malize serves as founding chair and professor of family medicine for the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell in Hempstead, New York, and is senior vice president and chair of the family medicine service line for Northwell Health. She oversees 4 family medicine residency programs and 3 fellowships spread across 23 hospitals. She was previously the director of the family medicine residency program at Southside Hospital in Bay Shore, New York. She is currently a member of the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine and is active in the Association of Departments of Family Medicine.