Adult Public Vaccination Campaigns Show Promise, Reveal Challenges

Although most vaccines are administered during infancy and childhood, it is important for people in all stages of their life to continue protection efforts from eradicated and new diseases.

In a recent issue of Eurosurveillance, immunization programs and their successes and challenges were examined during this year’s European Immunization Week, which took place between April 26 and May 2, 2021.

The slogan for this year, “Vaccines Bring Us Closer,” was closely related to the COVID-19 pandemic and the vaccines that were distributed in response to ending the pandemic and stopping social distancing measures.

Although most vaccines are administered during infancy and childhood, it is important for people in all stages of their life to continue protection efforts from eradicated and new diseases. The editorial in Eurosurveillance highlights the world’s response to the pandemic, such as the quick vaccine development, distribution, and administration in large vaccination campaigns. Further, it analyzes the key considerations for national vaccine decision-making and how immunization groups play a vital role advising governments on designing national immunization programs.

The analysis took a deep dive into immunization programs for adults across 194 World Health Organization member states that assessed existing infrastructures suitable for COVID-19 vaccine distribution. The study authors found that out of the 194 member states, 62% reported having approximately 1 adult vaccination program in 2018, whereas 59% of countries had adult vaccination programs for influenza, even though they analyzed 5 different licensed vaccines.

The analysis also showed that high- or upper middle-income countries were found to be significantly more likely to report adult immunization programs, with the most strongly associated factor overall being country income. The researchers concluded that approximately 40% of the assessed countries have no infrastructure for adult immunization. They also found that the presence of a national adult vaccination program does not guarantee extensive use of vaccines in the adult population.

A separate study had an objective of detecting immunity gaps mainly among young health care workers, with approximately 22% to 32% of health care workers reporting they were unsure about their vaccination status. Additionally, 11% were unsure about varicella infections and 41% for pertussis, which led the study authors to highlight the need for more targeted measures such as screening and a vaccine strategy to address the gaps.

The effectiveness of preventing SARS-CoV-2 infection in 6423 health care workers who received the Comirnaty COVID-19 vaccine was 84%, following 14 to 21 days after receiving the first dose and 95% at least 7 days after the second dose. The study authors concluded that support for vaccination campaigns need to continue for more prevention.

REFERENCE

Vaccines bring us closer. European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. EurekAlert! Published April 30, 2021. Accessed June 22, 2021. https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2021-04/ecfd-vbu043021.php