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Original Article

IJMDC. 2021; 5(4): 999-1006

Routine childhood immunization status in Saudi Arabia during the COVID-19 pandemic: cross-sectional study

Alanoud Zaid Aljarbou, Nadeef Jafar Alqahtani, Amani Abdulrahman Abu-Alnaja, Abdulaziz Safar Alshahrani, Abdulaziz Abdulrahman Aldayel, Nouf Mohamed Alzawahmah, Hesham Sameh Abozaid, Leen Jafar Alqahtani.

Background: The rapidly ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic worldwide is adversely affecting the population, and all health services, hospital visits, and regular check-ups, or even routine childhood immunization programs were disrupted and were not able to commence. The present study aimed at evaluating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on childhood immunization status, aiming to increase the awareness of the importance of vaccination to prevent the outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases.
Methodology: In this cross-sectional study, 548 participants were included and selected via convenience sampling. This study’s desired population was parents ≥18 years old who are caring for children their age limit within the routine childhood immunization in Saudi Arabia. Data were collected using a tailored questionnaire.
Results: 75.5% of the participants were aware of the Ministry of Health’s recommendation not to delay children vaccination during the COVID-19 pandemic, 41.4% of the participants said that the COVID-19 pandemic affected their children vaccination schedule. 15% reported a delay in the vaccination without rescheduling it and 24.3% reported a delay but they have been rescheduled, 2.1% canceled the rest of their children’s vaccination, and 42.3% attributed the delay of immunization to avoid catching COVID-19. Also, we found that the most affected age group was children at 21.2 months. The following factors were significantly associated with lower childhood vaccination rates: fathers with intermediate school education, fathers with high school education, and being a student.
Conclusion: Our findings in this study showed that more than one-third of the participants had been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic regarding their children’s vaccination schedule; the impact presented as delaying or canceling the vaccination.

Key words: Routine immunization, children, vaccination, COVID-19

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