Thank you to all who participated in the second global Immunization Pulse Poll* in the context of COVID-19 conducted between June 5-20, 2020. The goal of the poll, which was developed by WHO, UNICEF & Gavi, in collaboration with the Global Immunization Division/US Centersfor Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Boost Initiative at the Sabin Vaccine Institute and the International Vaccine Access Center(IVAC) at Johns Hopkins, was to quickly access the global situation of immunization programs during May 2020.
Please see below for a summary of results, which originally appeared in the June edition of WHO's Global Immunization Newsletter. A full report of the findings can be found in the Boost Media Center here and attached.
The second Immunization pulse poll in the context of COVID-19, aiming to have a sense of the disruptions to immunization in May 2020, was conducted between 5-20 June 2020. The poll was developed by WHO, UNICEF & Gavi, in collaboration with the Sabin Vaccine Institute’s Boost Community and the International Vaccine Access Center (IVAC) at Johns Hopkins and the Global Immunization Division/United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Just like the first pulse poll conducted in April 2020, this web-based poll, available in English and French, was designed to get a quick idea of the global impact of COVID-19 on immunization services and not intended to replace any regional or other immunization data collection efforts. The link to pulse poll 2 was shared through WHO, UNICEF, Boost, Gavi & TechNet networks; MOHs were not directly contacted.
Poll questions touched on the status of vaccination services via fixed posts and outreach and vaccination demand, as well as information about rumors and reasons of disruptions or demand. Respondents were also asked about their information and support needs. Respondents were then asked about vaccination catch-up plans due to the pandemic and/or associated response measures and to share any guidance on vaccination in the COVID context. Unlike the first pulse poll, no information on vaccination campaigns and measles surveillance was sought, as other mechanisms to monitor this information are now in place.
With 260 respondents from 82 countries (with roughly half of them working at the national level and the other half at the sub-national level), the poll showed that disruptions to routine immunization services continue to be widespread.
Of the 61 countries where national respondents reported on the current status, 85% indicated that the level of vaccination was lower in May than in January-February 2020; only 18% of countries noted that vaccination levels had improved compared to what they had observed in April 2020.
Main reported reasons of disruption to availability of immunization services were low availability of personal protection equipment (PPEs) for health workers (49%); travel restrictions (40%); and low availability of health workers (43%).
Regarding demand for immunization services, national responders from 73% of countries indicated that they have seen disruptions in demand, with these percentages being highest for respondents from countries in the WHO African (89%), Americas (75%) and Eastern Mediterranean (73%) Regions. Among respondents that noted disruptions in demand and gave a reason, almost half (48%) indicated that users are concerned about the risk of exposure to COVID-19 if they go for vaccination, and one third (33%) indicated that the main factor related to limited public transport, lockdown and physical distancing policies. Among all respondents, 74% noted that potential rumors are being monitored (among those 68% through main stream media, 65% digital media, and 55% through community reporting channels), and 85% indicated that there are plans in place to rebuild acceptance and/or demand for vaccination services using including mass media, engagement through community leaders, and house-to-house sensitization.
Over half of the respondents indicated that their most urgent challenge was how to resume or continue routine immunization activities and implement COVID infection prevention and control (IPC) measures. Finally, 3 in 4 respondents indicated that plans to catch-up people who have missed vaccine doses are in place.
During this round of pulse poll, respondents were requested to share their respective national guidance, if available. Sixty-seven respondents submitted guidance via web links or document uploads. Overall, guidance(1) was received from 25 countries in 12 languages, ranging from 1 page to 104 pages long and came in many forms, including traditional guidance documents, flyers, letters and decision-making matrices. Main topics of guidance included specific safety procedures to carry out routine immunization sessions, decision-making considerations and dissemination of educational messages to the community. These national documents were published between March and June 2020. The main source of information for the guidance was National Ministries of Health (80%), with additional citations within the guidance from WHO, UNICEF, Gavi and National Immunization Technical Advisory Groups (NITAGs). These documents will be made available in TechNet-21 and Sabin’s Boost Initiative (you can access them here).
*As with the immunization pulse poll 1, the data collected are subject to limitations inherent to voluntary self-reporting, self-selection bias, not all countries responded, countries with only one response vis-à-vis countries with several, possibility of fraudulent responses and not having a sampling frame to make inferences. Furthermore, the information about each country does not represent official reporting from Member States to WHO or UNICEF. Thus, the results presented here need to be interpreted with caution and do not represent a WHO or UNICEF position regarding any country or territory for which one or more replies were received. 1. Not all links/documents submitted were specific national or sub-national guidance related to immunization. Some resources were general links to national government or partner (i.e., WHO, UNICEF) websites. These submissions (n=23) were not included in the review.