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Reaching Zero Dose in Under-Vaccinated Children: Integrating COVID-19 Vaccination in Reproductive and Child Health Services Improves Vaccination Coverage in Manyara

Green Sadru

Pregnant and postpartum women with COVID-19 infections face increased risk of severe illness and/or developing pregnancy and newborn complications. COVID-19 vaccination protects women and their babies from COVID-19 complications. In May 2022, Manyara Region had the lowest COVID-19 vaccination coverage at 3.6%, with Tanzania’s goal to reach 70% of those18 years and older by end of December 2022.

The USAID Afya Yangu RMNCAH project’s goal was to increase COVID-19 vaccination coverage through integration in routine reproductive and child health (RCH) services in the primary health care (PHC) in Manyara Region. The target was to vaccinate 10,500 pregnant and postpartum women between July and September 2022.  The project integrated COVID-19 vaccine services in 105 high volume (>100 monthly ANC visits) from all 8 districts to RCH clinics of health facilities aiming to reach both COVID-19 zero dose or under-vaccinated pregnant women and provide routine immunization for their zero-dose or under-vaccinated children.

The project vaccinated 21,489 (205% of the target) pregnant and postpartum women with COVID-19 vaccine by September 2022. Through the integrated approach, 333 mothers were provided short term FP methods, 1,460 girls received HPV vaccination and 35,998 routine vaccinations were administered to zero dose or under vaccinated children. Intensified COVID-19 activities contributed to improved regional performance on routine immunization coverage by 32% (from 81% in Jan-Mar 2022 to 113% in Jul-Sep 2022). Manyara Region improved COVID-19 vaccine coverage from 3.6% in May, 2021 to 61% by end of September 2022.

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