South Sudan: Guidelines for holding immunization activities during COVID 19 pandemic in South Sudan
Immunization remains one of the most cost effective and successful strategy globally in reducing the morbidity and mortality associated with the vaccine related diseases. However, during certain situations like the current COVID-19 pandemic, there is a risk of disruption to routine immunization activities due to burden on the health system as well as decreased demand for vaccination because of physical distancing requirements or community reluctance. The disruption of immunization services, even for brief periods, will result in building a cohort of unvaccinated children and women rendering them susceptible to outbreak of vaccine preventable diseases (VPDs) such as measles, tetanus etc. Such VPD outbreaks may result in increased morbidity and mortality among the vulnerable groups thereby further burdening the already stressed health systems. Therefore, it is imperative to maintain continuity of immunization services wherever services can be conducted but under safe conditions. In the areas where there are no cases reported, and the government and the partners decide for the continuation of the vaccination activities, there is a need to spell out basic infection prevention and control measures (IPC) for ensuring the safety of the service providers as well as the beneficiaries. The current document is intended on providing some basic guidelines for the vaccination activities both during routine (fixed site, outreach and mobile vaccination) as well as SIAs.