COVID 19 disrupts vital immunization services worldwide, putting millions of children – in rich and poor countries alike – at risk of diseases like diphtheria, measles and polio. This blunt warning comes from the World Health
The organization, UNICEF and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance before the World Vaccine Summit on June 4, during which world leaders will meet to help maintain immunization programs and mitigate the impact of the pandemic in low-income countries.
According to data collected by the World Health Organization, UNICEF, Gavi and the Sabin Vaccine Institute, the provision of routine immunization services is significantly hampered in at least 68 countries and is expected to affect approximately 80 million people.
children under the age of 1 living in these countries.
Since March 2020, routine childhood immunization services have been disrupted globally, which may be unprecedented since the start of Expanded Vaccination Programs (EPI) in the 1970s. Over half (53%) of the 129 countries where the data
were available reported moderate to severe interruptions, or a complete suspension of immunization services between March and April 2020.
“Vaccination is one of the most powerful and fundamental disease prevention tools in the history of public health,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO. “Disruption of immunization programs following the COVID-19 pandemic
threatens to undo decades of progress against vaccine-preventable diseases like measles. ”
“At the World Vaccine Summit on June 4 in London, donors will pledge their support to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, to support and accelerate this rescue work in some of the most vulnerable countries. From the bottom of my heart, I urge donors to
fully fund the Alliance. These countries, these children in particular, need vaccines and they need Gavi. ”
The reasons for interrupted services vary. Some parents are reluctant to leave the home because of movement restrictions, lack of information or fear of COVID-19 infection. And many health workers are unavailable due to restrictions
when traveling or redeploying to COVID’s intervention functions, as well as the lack of protective equipment.
“More children in more countries are now protected from more vaccine-preventable diseases than at any time in history,” said Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi. “Because of COVID-19, this immense progress is now threatened, risking a resurgence
of diseases like measles and polio. Maintaining immunization programs will not only prevent further outbreaks, but it will also ensure that we have the infrastructure we need to deploy a possible COVID-19 vaccine globally. ”
Delays in transporting the vaccines make the situation worse. UNICEF reported A substantial
delay in planned vaccine deliveries due to foreclosure measures and the resulting decline in commercial flights and limited charter availability. To help mitigate this, UNICEF is appealing to governments, the private sector, the airline industry,
and others to free up affordable freight space for these vital vaccines. Gavi recently signed an agreement with UNICEF to provide advance funding to cover the increased transportation costs for vaccine delivery, in light of the reduced
number of commercial flights available for transportation.
“We cannot let our fight against one disease come at the expense of long-term progress in our fight against other diseases,” said Henrietta Fore, Executive Director of UNICEF. “We have effective vaccines against measles, polio and cholera.
Although circumstances may compel us to temporarily suspend certain vaccination efforts, these vaccinations must resume as soon as possible, otherwise, we risk trading one deadly epidemic for another. ”
Next week, WHO will issue new advice to countries on maintaining essential services during the pandemic, including recommendations on how to deliver vaccines safely.
Temporary interruption of mass vaccination campaigns
Many countries have rightly temporarily suspended mass preventive vaccination campaigns against diseases like cholera, measles, meningitis, polio, tetanus, typhoid and yellow fever, due to the risk of transmission and of the need to maintain a
distancing during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Measles and polio immunization campaigns, in particular, have been hit hard, with measles campaigns suspended in 27 countries and polio campaigns suspended in 38 countries. At least 24 million people in 21 low-income countries supported by Gavi are
risk of missing polio, measles, typhoid, yellow fever, cholera, rotavirus, HPV, meningitis A and rubella vaccines due to delayed campaigns and the introduction of new vaccines.
End of March, concerned that mass rallies for vaccination campaigns would ignite the transmission of COVID-19 WHO recommended countries to temporarily suspend prevention campaigns during the risk assessment and effective measures to reduce the transmission of the COVID virus have been established.
WHO has since monitored the situation and has now issued advice to help countries determine how and when to resume mass vaccination campaigns. The guidelines state that countries will need to carry out specific risk assessments based on the local dynamics of COVID-19 transmission, the capacities of the health system, and the public health benefits of taking preventive actions.
and outbreak vaccination campaigns.
Based on these guidelines and as a result of growing concerns about the increased transmission of polio, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), is advise countries begin planning for the safe resumption of polio immunization campaigns, especially in high-risk countries.
Despite the challenges, several countries are making special efforts to continue immunization. Uganda is ensuring that immunization services continue alongside other essential health services, even by funding transportation to provide awareness-raising activities.
And in Lao PDR, despite a national lockdown imposed in March, systematic vaccination at fixed sites continued with physical measures to put it in place.
About the analysis
|Vaccination campaigns||Total number of countries whose campaigns have been postponed to May 15 *|
|Measles / Measles-Rubella / Measles Rubella Mumps (M / MR / MMR)||27|
|Bivalent oral polio vaccine (bOPV)||26|
|Monovalent oral poliovirus type 2 (mOPV2)||13|
|Meningitis A (MenA)||2|
|Yellow fever (YF)||4|
The online vaccination pulse survey was conducted with more than 800 immunization experts, including representatives from ministries of health and global health organizations from 107 countries. 53 of them were low-income countries supported by Gavi, the
Vaccine alliance. Campaign data is based on data reported to WHO by member states as of May 15, 2020. Data on the reasons for discontinued services also came from regions and a survey of the training platform Learned with 1600 respondents.
On June 4, the British government will host the World Vaccine Summit, which will aim to raise at least US $
$ 7.4 billion for Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, to protect 300 million children in 68 low-income countries from fatal diseases between 2021 and 2021. This funding will help support mass vaccination campaigns and the reconstruction of necessary health
the coming years to help repair the damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The World Health Organization provides global leadership in public health within the United Nations system. Founded in 1948, WHO works with 194 Member States, in six regions and in more than 150 offices, to promote health,
keep the world safe and serve the vulnerable. Our goal for 2019-2023 is to ensure that 1 billion more people have universal health coverage, protect 1 billion more people from health emergencies and provide 1 billion more people better.
health and wellbeing.
The Global Polio Eradication Initiative is a public-private partnership led by national governments with six partners – the World Health Organization (WHO), Rotary International, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the Bill & Melinda Gates and Gavi Foundation, the vaccine alliance. Its goal is to eradicate polio from the world.
Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance is a public-private partnership that helps vaccinate half of the world’s children against some of the world’s deadliest diseases. Since its creation in 2000, Gavi has helped vaccinate an entire generation
– more than 760 million children – and avoided more than 13 million deaths, helping to halve child mortality in 73 developing countries. Gavi also plays a key role in improving global health security by supporting health systems as well as
financing global stocks of vaccines against Ebola, cholera, meningitis and yellow fever