Infection Prevention and Control for Immunization During COVID-19

WHO and Sabin Vaccine Institute’s Boost Community, in partnership with TechNet-21 and The Geneva Learning Foundation, conducted a webinar on how WHO Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) recommendations for COVID-19 can be operationalized in the context of immunization on Friday, May 29, 2020. The presentation provided an overview of the core components of IPC. This included standard precautions for all health-care settings, with particular emphasis on hand and respiratory hygiene, and description of personal protective equipment and their rational use. The presenters described the importance for health workers to conduct risk assessment before any interaction with a vaccine, with the objective to assess and analyze the potential for exposure to COVID-19 and to determine the use of personal protective equipment (PPE).

The following aspects were addressed:

  • Risk assessment recommendations at the strategic level (programme leaders at national and subnational level) and at the delivery level (individual health workers);
  • Recommended IPC activities at the delivery level (fixed and outreach posts in the routine, and vaccination posts in mass campaigns) depending on the type of COVID-19 transmission;
  • Use of PPE during vaccination session, PPE required when managing suspected COVID-19 case, and contents of recommended IPC kit for outreach and campaign sessions;
  • Setting up a safe vaccination site including the organization/flow of screening intended for early recognition and immediate isolation of patients with suspected COVID-19;
  • Importance of risk communication and community engagement concerning the safety of the vaccination site.

WHO panellists received and addressed about 30 questions that arrived during the presentation. These related to IPC recommendations for water-scarce environments, detailed queries on use of PPE for health workers and clients (i.e. handmade/cloth masks, use of gloves), solutions for addressing apprehension of parents regarding dropper usage for oral vaccine administration, and clarifications about the risk assessment process. 

You can view a recording of the session here (and below), along with the slides (soon to be translated in French and Spanish). The slides contain links to WHO IPC technical guidance documents and online training options. *NEW* - Watch Immunization Academy's short video on IPC during COVID-19.

Visit the COVID-19 Boost Learning Group to view additional resources and ask questions or make comments in the Group Live Feed.


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