Thank you to all who participated in the first Immunization Pulse Poll in the context of COVID-19 conducted between April 14 - 24, 2020. The goal of the Poll was to quickly access the global situation of immunization programs.
We received 801 unique responses from 107 countries.* Overall, the results showed that disruption to the routine immunization programs are widespread and affect all WHO regions.
Key findings include the following:
- Most respondents noting immunization disruptions indicated that no or limited outreach are taking place and that fewer users are visiting vaccination posts
- Similarly, supervision activities are not taking place in most cases and some disruptions in the normal distribution of vaccines within the country were noted.
- Most vaccination campaigns have been postponed.
- Both health care workers and parents report fear of COVID-19 transmission at the health care settings. This may discourage families to seek vaccination and further obstacles are difficulties in transport and physical distancing measures during COVID-19. Health care workers also reported lack of protective equipment.
- Roughly three out of four respondents noted that some special efforts are being made to monitor interruptions in immunization services in order to better plan catch-up activities (e.g., catch-up immunization, campaigns, etc.) to be implemented when the COVID situation allows it.
- There are reports of disruptions in the normal distribution of vaccines within the country.
- Measles surveillance is ongoing, but disruptions related to case detection, case investigations and notification (e.g., fewer reports, limited staff for case investigations, etc.) were reported; laboratory diagnosis of measles has also been affected in some countries.
- Regarding guidance, 27% of respondents indicated that they have not seen guidance related to COVID-19 and immunization or where to find WHO guidance and FAQ.
- Moreover, almost 90% of respondents indicated that would be interested or very interested in participating on an expert-led webinar that addresses these topics.
In response to what they heard from the survey, WHO and global partners are taking several steps to support immunization professionals around the world who are attempting to maintain these essential health services.
Below are a few critical sources of information that have been developed so far:
- Guiding principles for immunization activities during the COVID-19 pandemic (March 26, 2020) ~ an update is currently being prepared
- Immunization in the context of COVID-19 pandemic: frequently asked questions (FAQ) (April 16, 2020) ~ available in English and French
- Community based health care, including outreach and campaigns, in the context of COVID-19 pandemic (May 2020) ~ interim guidance
- Polio eradication programme continuity planning (May 2020) ~ interim guidance
- Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccination and COVID-19 (April 12, 2020) ~ scientific brief
- Regional guidance from EURO, AFRO, WPRO, PAHO
- WHO Academy’s new COVID-19 mobile learning app (available at Apple App Store and Google Play Store). The app provides mobile access to the WHO COVID-19 knowledge resources, including up-to-the-minute guidance, tools, training, and virtual workshops to support health workers in caring for patients infected by COVID-19 and protect themselves as they do their critical work.
In addition to these resources, WHO and the Boost Community, in partnership with TechNet-21 and The Geneva Learning Foundation, are happy to offer an interactive webinar: How Immunization Professionals Can Address Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) During COVID-19 on Friday, May 29 at 3:00 PM CEST (check local time). Experts from WHO will explain how immunization professionals can operationalize WHO guidance on IPC. Webinar participants will have an opportunity to ask questions and share experiences on how they are addressing IPC matters in their own contexts. Please register for the webinar. You can send your questions related for WHO IPC experts in advance to firstname.lastname@example.org or join the special Boost learning group on COVID-19.
Thank you again for your help, and we look forward to connecting with you soon!
*Please note: 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 many, 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 in any way a WHO or UNICEF position regarding any country or territory for which one or more replies were received.