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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 47  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 132-133

COVID-19 pandemic: Ensuring health system sustainability through strengthening immunization activities


1 Member of the Medical Education Unit and Institute Research Council, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth – Deemed to be University, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet District, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth – Deemed to be University, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet District, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Submission21-May-2020
Date of Acceptance21-May-2020
Date of Web Publication11-Sep-2020

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava
Professor, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth (SBV) – Deemed to be University, Tiruporur - Guduvancherry Main Road, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet District - 603108, Tamil Nadu
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/jss.JSS_42_20

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  Abstract 


The ongoing Corona Virus Disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has reminded all the stakeholders that infectious diseases cannot be restrained within geographical boundaries. The urgent need to have a vaccine for the novel viral infection justifies the role which immunization plays in safeguarding the human lives and economic growth of a nation. Amidst the implementation of outbreak readiness and response activities, it is important to realize that the delivery of the routine immunization programs becomes even more crucial than earlier times. In conclusion, as the fight against the COVID-19 infection intensifies in the different parts of the world, there is a simultaneous pressing need to protect all age-groups from vaccine-preventable diseases through immunization, which will in turn play a crucial role in the sustainability of the health care systems.

Keywords: COVID-19 pandemic, Immunization, World Health Organization


How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. COVID-19 pandemic: Ensuring health system sustainability through strengthening immunization activities. J Sci Soc 2020;47:132-3

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. COVID-19 pandemic: Ensuring health system sustainability through strengthening immunization activities. J Sci Soc [serial online] 2020 [cited 2020 Oct 31];47:132-3. Available from: https://www.jscisociety.com/text.asp?2020/47/2/132/294797




  Introduction Top


The ongoing coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has reminded all the stakeholders that infectious diseases cannot be restrained within geographical boundaries, and all the nations, community, and individuals are very much susceptible to acquire the infection. The available estimates suggest that till date, a total of 4,789,205 cases and 318,789 deaths have been reported, which amounts to a case fatality rate of 6.6%.[1] Even though the initial epidemiological trends have suggested that the disease predominantly affects adults and elderly, it would not be wrong to say that even under-five children are susceptible to the infection and the only reason because of which the incidence of infection among them is less because they predominantly stay indoors and are not compelled to go out for work or other reasons.[2]

COVID-19: Health consequences

In other words, the ongoing pandemic has emerged as a global public health threat and we all will remain susceptible till a potent vaccine comes into the market.[2] The urgent need to have a vaccine for the novel viral infection justifies the role which immunization plays in safeguarding the human lives and economic growth of a nation. Already, many of the nations have started with the research and development activities to come out soon with a potent vaccine, and almost all nations are continually working to intensify the outbreak preparedness and emergency response activities within their settings to minimize the risk of disease transmission and caseload of the disease. Moreover, the nations should devise a mechanism to ensure equal access to COVID-19 vaccine, whenever it is available, to all the sections of the community, including the vulnerable groups.[2]

Immunization services

Amidst all these activities which are in full flow at present and considering that the health systems are very much overwhelmed in mounting an effective response, it is important to realize that the delivery of the routine immunization programs becomes even more crucial than earlier times.[3] This is very much applicable for all the diseases, for which vaccines are already existing and the public health authorities should ensure that people from all the age groups are immunized.[3],[4] In fact, it has been reported that any shortcoming in the routine delivery of immunization services significantly enhances the risk of the emergence of disease outbreak, as was reported in terms of measles outbreak affecting all the age groups in the European region in 2019.[2]

Proposed recommendations

In settings, wherein the COVID-19 pandemic interferes with the delivery of routine immunization, the nations should prepare the line list of all people who have not been immunized, and whenever the condition stabilizes, immunizing them should be of paramount importance, with unimmunized children being given maximum attention.[2] To reduce the further impact of the novel infection on the health-care delivery system, including the financial load, we have to strengthen our immunization activities as per the national schedule.[2],[3],[4] The need of the hour is to adopt a multisectoral approach and support the health workers at different levels to continue with the immunization activities even during the unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 infection.[2],[3],[4]


  Conclusion Top


In conclusion, as the fight against the COVID-19 infection intensifies in the different parts of the world, there is a simultaneous pressing need to protect all age groups from vaccine-preventable diseases through immunization, which will, in turn, play a crucial role in the sustainability of the health-care systems.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
World Health Organization. Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Situation Report – 121; 2020. Available from: https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/situation-reports/20200520-covid-19-sitrep-121.pdf?sfvrsn=c4be2ec6_2. [Last accessed on 2020 May 21]  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
World Health Organization. WHO/UNICEF Joint Statement – Maintaining Routine Immunization Services Vital During the COVID-19 Pandemic; 2020. Available from: http://www.euro.who.int/en/media-centre/events/events/2020/04/european-immunization-week-2020/statements/whounicef-joint-statement-maintaining-routine-immunization-services-vital-during-the-covid-19-pandemic. [Last accessed on 2020 May 21].  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
World Health Organization. COVID-19: Operational Guidance for Maintaining Essential Health Services During an Outbreak Interim Guidance. Geneva: WHO Press; 2020. p. 1-10.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
World Health Organization. More than 117 million children at risk of missing out on measles vaccines, as COVID-19 surges; 2020. https://www.who.int/immunization/diseases/measles/statement_missing_measles_vaccines_covid-19/en/. [Last accessed on 2020 May 21].  Back to cited text no. 4
    




 

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