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Service disruptions caused significant declines in coverageA proportion (%) that reflects the number of people receiving (an) intervention(s) divided by the total number of people eligible to receive of vitamin A supplementation in 2020.
The largest declines were in the first half of the year, following widespread suspension of mass campaigns.
Countries with the highest child mortality, and therefore the greatest need for supplementation, had the lowest coverage in 2020, reversing the situation in 2019.
In the context of COVID-19, vitamin A supplementation delivery through routine systems was more resilient than delivery in campaigns.
To regain lost coverage and move towards universal coverage, countries must strengthen delivery systems with a renewed impetus to reach children most at risk.
In efforts to restrict the spread of SARS-CoV-2, many low-income and middle-income countries suspended community-based public health and nutrition programmes in early 2020. At the time, the expectation was that disruptions due to the COVID-19 response would cause significant declines in programme coverage of key services, and eventually increase preventable morbidity and mortality among the most vulnerable children.1 The magnitude of the pandemic’s impact(i) The total, direct and indirect, effects of a programme, service or institution on a health status and overall health and socio‐economic on preventive vitamin A supplementation (VAS) programmes is now made visible in UNICEF’s annual programme coverage data.