Soraya ArayaMinistry of Public Health and Social Welfare, Paraguay
Title: COVID-19 and vaccination coverage of the regular calendar of Paraguay, effect of the pandemic
Introduction: The COVID-19 pandemic produced a health crisis affecting countries’ vaccination coverage statistics.
Objective: To describe the coverage of recommended vaccines during the pre-pandemic (2015-2019) and pandemic (2020-2021) periods in Paraguay.
Materials and Methods: This was a descriptive, observational cross-sectional study, comprising children from 0 to 5 years of age, from the Country’s 18 Health Regions. The vaccination coverage of the National Expanded Immunization Program, pre-pandemic (2015-2019) and pandemic (2020-201) periods were analyzed. The recommended vaccinations included were: BCG, DTP1, DTP3, IPV1 and bOPV3, MMR1, MMR2 and yellow fever vaccine (AA), the calculation of vaccination coverage at the country level was carried out through the analysis of the weekly electronic report of doses of vaccines administered by Health Region. The comparison of vaccination coverage by recommended vaccine was established, by periods and age range.
Results: During the pandemic, a decrease in vaccination coverage of the recommended vaccines was observed, for BCG: 4% (2020), 15% (2021); DTP1: 5% (2020), 13% (2021); DTP3: 9% (2020), 22% (2021); IPV1: 5% (2020), 16% (2021); bOPV3: 7% (2020), 19% (2021); MMR1: 9%, MMR2: 13% (2020), MMR1: 17%, MMR2: 16% (2021) and AA: 7% (2020), 15% (2021).
Conclusion: During the Covid-19 pandemic, vaccination coverage of all recommended vaccines decreased, a similar decrease was found in other countries in the Americas, there is a risk of outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases due to the accumulation of susceptible populations.
Soraya Araya is a pediatric infectologist, she was born in Asunción Paraguay, she studied Pediatrics and Infectious Diseases at the National University of Asunción. Professor of the Postgraduate Course in Pediatrics at the Institute of Tropical Medicine from 2009 to 2018, head of the Pediatric Emergency Department at the Institute of Tropical Medicine from 2009 to 2018, she wrote several scientific articles that were published in national and international journals, in 2016 she obtained the National Prize for Sciences from the Chamber of Senators and Deputies of the Nation of Paraguay, in 2018 she published her book: Children, illness and school. During the years 2018 to March 2021, she was Director of the Expanded Program on Immunizations in her country, and currently serves as head of the Department of Teaching and Research of the Expanded Program on Immunizations. She is an active member of the Latin American Society of Pediatric Infectious Diseases (SLIPE) and other scientific societies. She has won national and international awards at several scientific conferences.