Vaccines and routine immunization strategies during the COVID-19 pandemic


Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 related disease (COVID-19) is now responsible for one of the most challenging and concerning pandemics. By August 2020, there were almost 20 million confirmed cases worldwide and well over half-million deaths. Since there is still no effective treatment or vaccine, non-pharmaceutical interventions have been implemented in an attempt to contain the spread of the virus. During times of quarantine, immunization practices in all age groups, especially routine childhood vaccines, have also been interrupted, delayed, re-organized, or completely suspended. Numerous high-income as well as low- and middle-income countries are now experiencing a rapid decline in childhood immunization coverage rates. We will, inevitably, see serious consequences related to suboptimal control of vaccine-preventable diseases (VPDs) in children concurrent with or following the pandemic. Routine pediatric immunizations of individual children at clinics, mass vaccination campaigns, and surveillance for VPDs must continue as much as possible during pandemic.