Impact of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic on vaccine-preventable disease campaigns



The COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to the widespread disruption of immunization services, including the postponement of mass vaccination campaigns.


In May 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) and partners started monitoring COVID-19-related disruptions to mass vaccination campaigns against cholera, measles, meningitis A, polio, tetanus-diphtheria, typhoid and yellow fever through the Immunization Repository Campaign Delay Tracker. The authors reviewed the number and target population of reported preventive and outbreak response vaccination campaigns scheduled, postponed, canceled and reinstated, at four time-points: May 2020, December 2020, May 2021 and December 2021.


Mass vaccination campaigns across all vaccines were disrupted heavily by COVID-19. In May 2020, 105 of 183 (57%) campaigns were postponed or canceled in 57 countries due to COVID-19, with an estimated 796 million postponed or missed vaccine doses. Campaign resumption was observed beginning in July 2020. In December 2021, 77 of 472 (16%) campaigns in 54 countries, mainly in the African Region, were still postponed or canceled due to COVID-19, with about 382 million postponed or missed vaccine doses.


There is likely high risk of vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks due to an increased number of susceptible persons resulting from the large-scale mass vaccination campaign postponement caused by COVID-19 across all regions.

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