COVID-19 has led to a reduction in vaccination rates, threatening health gains made through vaccination for diseases from measles through to meningitis. A recent joint report from WHO, UNICEF and GAVI estimates at least 80 million children under one are at risk of diseases like diphtheria, measles and polio.
Circumstances created by COVID-19 have made access to vaccination services challenging. Critical to maintaining immunisation uptake are community-based health workers and immunisation professionals. They are also critical to ensuring uptake of any new COVID-19 vaccines when they are available. The environment healthcare professionals find themselves in as a result of COVID-19 has changed. They face numerous challenges in their work, from vaccine hesitancy, failing health systems, lack of information and support and lack of resources.
Training, capacity building and support networks which are context specific are paramount to supporting community-based health workers and immunization professionals to reverse the downward trend in vaccination and address COVID-19.