Impact of COVID-19 on Immunization Services

September 24, 2020

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We are excited to announce that the results of our IMPRINT survey on the impact of COVID-19 on immunization services for maternal and infant vaccines has been published. Thank you to all IMPRINT members from around the world who participated in the survey. The publication is fully open access and you can access it through MDPI or simply download the PDF below: https://www.mdpi.com/2076-393X/8/3/556

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic response has caused disruption to healthcare services globally, including to routine immunizations. To understand immunization service interruptions specifically for maternal, neonatal and infant vaccines, we captured the local experiences of members of the Immunising Pregnant Women and Infants Network (IMPRINT) by conducting an online survey over 2-weeks in April 2020. IMPRINT is a global network of clinicians and scientists working in maternal and neonatal vaccinology. The survey included discrete questions to quantify the extent of disruption as well as free-text options to explore the reasons behind reported disruptions. Of the 48 responses received, the majority (75%) were from low-and-middle-income countries (LMICs). Of all respondents, 50% or more reported issues with vaccine delivery within their country. Thematic analysis identified three key themes behind immunization disruption: “access” issues, e.g., logistical barriers, “provider” issues, e.g., staff shortages and user “concern” about attending immunization appointments due to COVID-19 fear. Access and provider issues were more commonly reported by LMIC respondents. Overall, respondents reported uncertainty among parents and healthcare providers regarding routine immunization. We conclude that further quantification of routine vaccination disruption is needed, alongside health service prioritization, logistical support and targeted communication strategies to reinforce routine immunizations during the COVID-19 response.

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