Routine Childhood Immunization During the COVID-19 Pandemic in Africa: A Benefit–risk Analysis of Health Benefits Versus Excess Risk of SARS-CoV-2 Infection

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Assessing the benefits and risks of continued routine childhood immunization during the COVID-19 pandemic in the Africa region.

HOW YOU CAN USE THIS MATERIAL:

Stakeholders and decision makers can use the estimated benefit–risk ratios contained in this study to determine whether sustaining routine childhood immunization during the COVID-19 pandemic is appropriate and what service delivery adaptations should be considered.

OVERVIEW:

The aim of this study is to compare the health benefits of sustaining routine childhood immunization in Africa with the risk of acquiring SARS-CoV-2 infection through visiting routine vaccination service delivery points.

Key Points:

  • The deaths prevented by sustaining routine childhood immunization in Africa outweigh the excess risk of COVID-19 deaths associated with vaccination clinic visits, especially for the vaccinated children.
  • Routine childhood immunization should be sustained in Africa as much as possible, while considering other factors such as logistical constraints, staff shortages, and reallocation of resources during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The current immunization service models will require adaptation, including physical distancing measures, personal protective equipment, and good hygiene practices for infection control at the vaccination clinics.

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