Impact of COVID-19 on Routine Immunization, Liberia Case Study

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Published
2020
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Analysis of routine Health Management Information Systems (HMIS) data indicate a marked decline in immunization services notably between the months of March and May 2020. A comparative analysis of Jan-Jun 2019 vs 2020 showed a 16% decline for Penta 3 and Measles containing vaccine first dose (MCV1). This reduction was likely due to general fears about COVID-19; misinformation about the existence of a COVID-19 vaccination in Liberia; suspension of outreach sessions and rumors that a COVID-19 vaccine would be tested on people seeking routine immunizations. Given the communities’ growing skepticism and fear of vaccination services during the COVID-19 pandemic, and out of concern for the safety of the vaccinators, the EPI programme temporarily suspended routine immunization health facility community outreach services.” “… the resumption of routine immunization health facility outreach services began in late May 2020 with the aim of reducing the immunity gap being created by COVID-19 due to limited access to high quality routine immunization outreach services. In addition to addressing issues related to outreach, the EPI team has also worked to ensure that health facilities are strengthened to provide quality immunization services during the COVID-19 outbreak by providing: guidance on infection prevention and control (IPC) measures for vaccinators plus training, procurement and distribution of IPC materials; installation of 103 items of cold chain equipment (e.g. Solar Direct Drive, SDD) at health facilities to maintain the viability and integrity of the vaccines and the cold chain system; conduct of one round of periodic intensification of routine immunization (PIRI) in eleven counties; and conducting additional supportive supervision.