A Global Crisis for Childhood Vaccines: Examining the Effects of COVID-19 and Ways Forward for Bangladesh
A Global Crisis for Childhood Vaccines: Examining the Effects of COVID-19 and Ways Forward for Bangladesh

Global health actors and stakeholders are constantly working towards ensuring immunisation equity worldwide. There are certain times when even dedicated willpower cannot ensure or guarantee several things. The situation and circumstances were similar in the year 2020. The whole world came to an absolute halt.  No human was seen on the streets, and all that humans could wish for was survival. Even if humans were traced on empty roads, they were either policemen or health workers. Everything was at a halt, and so were the immunisation programs.

Most countries at that time imposed lockdowns or curfews all over their borders to stop the spread of coronavirus. Due to the lockdowns, curfews and social distancing, parents could not take their children to the designated vaccination centres [1]. The governments and global alliances were mostly focused on addressing the issue of COVID-19. The vaccinators were also vulnerable to the Coronavirus and thus, vaccination processes in underdeveloped countries were halted [2]. According to service utilisation data from the National Management Information System (MIS), the impact of COVID-19 on the overall EPI programme was devastating as the number of immunisation sessions dropped by 18% in April 2020 and 22% in May 2020 [3].

Parents and their children were afraid of visiting vaccination points due to the fear of COVID-19 [4]. Fear and trauma spread all over the country, resulting in people seeking medical attention when there was no other way to avoid it. Even most health workers were unwilling to return to hospitals and provide services to people. To improve this situation, the Government of Bangladesh (GoB) has widely ensured the availability of Covid-19 vaccination for its population. In Bangladesh, 93% of the population received at least the first dose of vaccination and 84% of the population is fully vaccinated against Coronavirus [5].

Additionally, in consultation with WHO and UNICEF, the Government of Bangladesh has issued National Operational Guidelines on the continuation of immunisation during COVID-19 to avert further setbacks in routine immunisation. The guidelines include recommendations for line listing children who have missed or not completed their vaccinations and for strengthening immunisation monitoring tools. Thus, with the support of WHO, the GoB ensured the full resume of routine immunisation activities to regain the immunisation coverage lost due to COVID-19 [6].


  1. Ali I. Impact of COVID-19 on vaccination programs: adverse or positive? Hum Vaccin Immunother [Internet]. 2020;16(11):2594–600. Available from: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/21645515.2020.1787065
  2. Remuzzi A, Remuzzi G. COVID-19 and Italy: what next? Lancet [Internet]. 2020;395(10231):1225–8. Available from: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30627-9
  3. Routine Immunization in Bangladesh set to get back on track amidst COVID-19 pandemic and massive flooding [Internet]. Who.int. [cited 2023 Apr 15]. Available from: https://www.who.int/bangladesh/news/detail/31-08-2020-routine-immunization-in-bangladesh-set-to-get-back-on-track-amidst-covid-19-pandemic-and-massive-flooding
  4. The impact of COVID-19 on routine vaccinations [Internet]. Unicef.org. [cited 2023 Apr 15]. Available from: http://www.unicef.org/eap/stories/impact-covid-19-routine-vaccinations
  5. Holder J. Tracking Coronavirus vaccinations around the world. The New York times [Internet]. 2021 Jan 29 [cited 2023 Apr 15]; Available from: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/world/covid-vaccinations-tracker.html
  6. COVID-19 Vaccination: WHO supports an effective campaign in Bangladesh while strengthening vaccine roll-out preparedness for Rohingya [Internet]. Who.int. [cited 2023 Apr 15]. Available from: https://www.who.int/bangladesh/news/detail/20-05-2021-covid-19-vaccination-who-supports-an-effective-campaign-in-bangladesh-while-strengthening-vaccine-roll-out-preparedness-for-rohingya



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