COVID-19 impact on infant and adolescent vaccine supplies
Immunization prevents 4 to 5 million deaths annually, primarily among children, but each year 20 million infants do not receive a full course of the most essential basic vaccines. COVID-19 has underscored the importance of vaccines to public health, but immunization coverage dropped in 2020 as a result of the pandemic, leaving even more infants un- or underimmunized. The push to manufacture COVID-19 vaccines has raised concerns that supplies of other essential vaccines may be compromised, which could erode the gains achieved by immunization and delay access for underserved populations. Drawing on data assembled by the World Health Organization (WHO) and on the advice of technical experts, we describe how COVID-19 is affecting the global supply of key infant and adolescent vaccines. We assess the risks to those essential vaccines, identify mitigations, and explore how emerging innovations can help improve market health.