Gavi, WHO and UNICEF warn of disruption to routine vaccination efforts

02 June 2020

Article: 54/2204

According to data collected by the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, Gavi and the Sabin Vaccine Institute, provision of routine immunisation services owing to the COVID-19 pandemic is substantially hindered in at least 68 countries. This is likely to affect approximately 80 million children under the age of one.

Since March 2020, routine childhood immunisation services have been disrupted on a global scale that may be unprecedented since the inception of expanded programmes on immunisation (EPI) in the 1970s. More than half (53%) of the 129 countries where data were available reported moderate-to-severe disruptions, or a suspension of vaccination services, during March-April 2020.

There are a variety of reasons for the disruptions, including the reluctance of some parents to leave their homes because of restrictions on movement, lack of information or because they fear infection with coronavirus. Many health workers are unavailable because of restrictions on travel or redeployment to COVID-19 response duties. Delays in the transportation of vaccines in some countries are exacerbating the situation further.

Source: WHO, 22 May 2020