Linked Podcast: Overcoming Immunisation Workforce Challenges Due to COVID-19

Podcast Episode

Globally, the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the decreased availability of health care workers. These health care worker shortages are a critical challenge faced by many countries, as they have disrupted the delivery of routine immunisation services largely due to reassignment and reduction in bandwidth due to pandemic response activities, illness among the immunisation workforce, and mandatory lockdown policies. This podcast episode features a conversation with three global immunisation experts to discuss solutions and best practices that countries around the world have employed to overcome or mitigate the impact of COVID-19 and the pandemic response on routine immunisation services.

You can also listen to this podcast on Spotify and Google Podcasts.


Luis Bernal, Former Director of Human Resources for Health, Ministry of Health and Social Protection, Colombia and Professor of the School of Medicine and Health Sciences at Rosario University, Colombia
Juana Paola Bustamante Izquierdo, Economist, Health Labour Market Unit, World Health Organization
Rachel Deussom, Director, Global Health Practice, Chemonics and former Technical Director, HRH2030, Chemonics


The Linked Immunisation Action Network hosted a podcast with health workforce experts to discuss the global health workforce challenges that have arisen as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. We wanted to hear how countries across the world have been addressing these challenges.

Key Messages:

  • To prevent, diagnose, and treat COVID-19 while meeting the demands of routine immunisation activities, many countries sought to add more frontline health workers to their workforce.
  • The challenge all countries faced was to reorient existing health workers while not worsening working conditions by increasing workload, working hours, and the risks to the well-being of health workers.
  • Countries that had quality health workforce data readily available were able to mobilize and adapt more quickly to the needs of the pandemic.
  • Solutions adopted by some countries to strengthen the mental health support provided to health workers include the creation of mental support phone lines, media campaigns to reduce the stigma associated with seeking and accessing support services, and institutional programmes to support mental health and manage stress.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need to urgently address the health workforce challenges that previously existed – to invest in new skills development, to increase the availability of health workers, decrease inequities in the distribution of the health workforce, and improve how they deliver health services.


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