Addressing disruptions in childhood routine immunisation services during the COVID-19 pandemic: perspectives and lessons learned from Liberia, Nepal, and Senegal


Summary box Key message 1: As the COVID-19 pandemic affected routine immunisation services worldwide, country programmes have used a range of mitigation strategies to maintain vaccine delivery and/or resume interrupted programming. Interviews with immunisation programme managers and Ministry of Health staff provided key perspectives and lessons learned on how countries have approached routine immunisation services during the COVID-19 crisis. Key message 2: Key themes for mitigating COVID-19’s effects on routine immunisation included prioritising continued services with strengthened infection prevention control; identifying alternative locations and approaches to providing vaccine services (e.g., conducting door-to-door vaccination if facility-based services were not possible); engaging in effective communications and mobilisation activities, especially to offset misinformation about COVID-19 and vaccines; setting up systems and strategies for reaching children who missed doses amid periods of disruption; and conducting catch-up campaigns as soon as SARS-CoV-2 transmission risks could be minimised. Key message 3: The ways in which COVID-19 has affected routine immunisation services have varied over time and across settings, underscoring the importance of contextually-tailored mitigation efforts and adaptation given evolving challenges amid an ongoing pandemic. As countries prepare and initiate roll-out COVID-19 vaccines, it will be vital to avoid one-size-fits-all implementation strategies and support the continuance of routine immunisation services through this next phase of COVID-19 response.