COVID-19 outbreak: a potential threat to routine vaccination programme activities in Nigeria

After the outbreak of COVID-19, Nigeria and other sub-Sahara Africa countries like the rest of the world introduced several lockdown measures as part of their public health response to mitigate the spread of the virus. This, however, was not without the likelihood of consequences considering the weak health systems. The access and supply side of vaccination was more likely to have been affected by the lockdown measures. When vaccination services are disrupted even for brief periods during emergencies, the risk of outbreak-prone vaccine-preventable diseases increases, leading to excess morbidity and mortality. This highlights the importance of maintaining essential services such as vaccination in times of emergency. There is therefore an urgent need to ensure that children are protected against those diseases for which vaccines already exist. The COVID-19 outbreak has posed a new hindrance to vaccination activities in Nigeria and across Sub-Saharan Africa with associated threat to surveillance of vaccine-preventable diseases. Achieving and sustaining high levels of vaccination coverage during this period must, therefore, be a priority for all health systems.

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