Open Access Original Research Article
Introduction: Childhood immunisation is the most cost effective method to prevent vaccine preventable diseases and decrease childhood morbidity and mortality. COVID-19 pandemic has affected routine immunisation of children due to various reasons. We aimed to study the attendance to immunisation clinic at our tertiary care hospital prior and during COVID-19 pandemic.
Methods: Retrospective data of monthly attendance to the immunisation clinic at our tertiary care hospital was collected for a study period of 30months, sub-grouped into - January 2019 to March 2020 (pre-COVID) and April 2020 to June 2021 (during COVID). The clinic caters to children from first day of life till 18 years, as per National Immunisation Schedule (NIS). Trends in attendance across the months were studied. Statistical analysis were employed to test whether there was a significant reduction in immunisation clinic attendance.
Results: Attendance to the immunisation clinic during the 30 month study period was 37418 children. Among these, 29879 children received birth dose vaccines. This cohort was excluded from further analysis as deliveries continued at our maternity centre in both periods of study. Comparing vaccine recipients above the age of 6weeks till 18years across the months, 6222 and 1502 children received immunisation in the pre-COVID and during COVID pandemic respectively. No child received immunisation from April 2020 to July 2020 during national lockdown. Unpaired t-test showed highly significant reduction in attendance to immunisation clinic during the COVID pandemic in comparison to pre-COVID period (p<0.001). The reduction in immunisation attendance had greatest affection among recipients of pentavalent vaccine at our centre.
Conclusion: Immunisation among children is significantly hampered during this COVID-19 pandemic as highlighted by our study findings. Vaccination delay leaves young children vulnerable and there is an acute need to increase awareness and catch-up drives to prevent resurgence of vaccine preventable diseases.
Open Access Review Article
Oyster and co-authors (2022) have authored an article called Myocarditis cases reported after mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccination in the United States from December 2020 to August 2021, which studies and investigates the resulting number of cases of Myocarditis concerning the COVID-19 vaccination for pediatric patients older than 12 years of age but include individuals less than 30 years of age. From analyzing COVID 19 vaccination, there is more attribute towards the benefits associated with health matters as outlined by Bozkurt and co-authors (2021). However, from the research, the vaccination holds potential risks that would harm the population involved (Halushka & Vander Heide, 2021). The article investigates the different reports of Myocarditis and pericarditis rates after mRNA-based vaccination in the United States and globally. With the detailed information, the article has reviewed additional existing knowledge to support the study’s objective. Public health Ontario 2022 also provides an overview of the event of Myocarditis and Pericarditis following mRNA COVID 19 vaccines. Data from other countries also reported Cases of Myocarditis/Pericarditis following immunization with mRNA vaccine in Ontario, Canada, and internationally. Reported cases have occurred more frequently in males under 30 years, following the second dose, usually within one week of vaccination, and have mild with quick recovery. Although they also mention that the benefit of vaccination continues to outweigh the risk of COVID-19 illness, the authority still recommends vaccination for all eligible individuals, including children and youth. Also, per the American college of cardiology, vaccine-associated Myocarditis is a rare but possible side effect after m-RNA based COVID-19 vaccine. The clinical course of this Myocarditis is generally mild, with most symptoms resolving quickly.