The Next Steps for Childhood Vaccination: Community and Expert Consultation in Addressing Reductions in Childhood Vaccination Access and Uptake Amidst the COVID‑19 Pandemic for Kids New to Canada
The COVID‑19 pandemic has changed children’s formative years, including their schooling, social opportunities, and health. Routine childhood vaccinations (RCVs) protect children against life-changing illnesses. Kids new to Canada often have incomplete vaccinations as RCV is not part of routine immigration medical examination, the Canadian schedule differs from the WHO schedule, and documentation practices vary. Combined with recent reductions in access to primary care clinics, pharmacies, and schools, these factors may put this group at higher risk of not having access to or not wanting RCVs. We aim to examine this pandemic’s effects on access to RCVs, attitudes about RCVs, and vaccination-seeking behaviours-specifically for kids new to Canada (in the past five years). Our study will have three components: 1.Environmental scan and scoping review: examining current knowledge of how the pandemic has affected RCV uptake, access, knowledge, and attitudes. This will also include interventions that jurisdictions have begun to implement to address these gaps. 2.Primary data collection: surveys, focus groups, and interviews involving key stakeholders (newcomers, public health, school boards, community organizations) to understand how the pandemic has affected RCV uptake, knowledge, and attitudes. We will also utilize administrative data. 3.Identifying potential interventions: we will identify potential interventions to improve RCV uptake in conjunction with discussion with stakeholders so that they may implement them alongside governmental organizations. Getting this population on track with RCVs will require strategies that are practical and agreeable to those impacted by them. The process of creating these plans will ensure fairness in the planned projects, the behavioural changes sought, and the goals of improved public health. We expect that this process will help to determine what types of interventions may be most beneficial now and in future public health crises.