Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on routine immunization services in Yerevan and vaccinations against COVID-19 in Armenia
Keywords:COVID-19, vaccination, vaccine-preventable disease, epidemic wave, coronavirus, pandemic
Introduction: The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has led to millions of deaths around the world. The indirect effects of the pandemic, include disruption of routine immunization services.
Methodology: We conducted a retrospective review to assess the impact of the pandemic on routine immunization in Yerevan and the vaccinations against COVID-19 in Armenia. We compared the number of administered doses of DPT/VHB/HIB/IPV1,2,3, Pneumococcal1,2,3, Rotarix1,2, and MMR1 vaccines in target groups in 2020 and 2021 and the total vaccination coverage in 2019, 2020, and 2021. We also analyzed the number of COVID-19 vaccines administered in Armenia from 17 May 2021 to 6 February 2022.
Results: There was a decline in the number of administered doses of vaccines at the beginning of the pandemic due to restrictive quarantine measures: 16 ± 4.5 (95% CI, 11.8-20.2), p < 0.05, during the second wave 18 ± 2.6 (95% CI, 15.6-20.4), p < 0.05 and during the interruption due to COVID-19 vaccine delivery 16 ± 7.4 (95% CI, 9.1-22.9), p < 0.05. There was no significant decrease in the number of vaccinations during the first, third, and fourth pandemic waves (p > 0.05) Overall, the COVID-19 vaccination process was slow and only 30% of the population were vaccinated.
Conclusions: The COVID-19 pandemic led to disruptions in the routine immunization process, but there was no significant decrease in the total vaccine coverage due to rapid scaling up of the vaccination services and catch-up vaccinations. Thus, the restrictions imposed during the pandemic did not affect the overall progress of vaccination.
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