Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals

WHO recommendations for interrupted and delayed vaccination now available

Children smiling while queuing for vaccinations
Stuart Ramson/UN Foundation

Every immunization programme in the world has a national vaccination schedule that specifies the age at which antigens are to be given. But as we well know, in real life things rarely go according to plan!

Inevitably, children and individuals come late for their vaccinations or for whatever reason, are unable to stick to the usual schedule. These irregular situations can be challenging to health workers who may not know what to do. If a child starts a vaccination series late, how many doses should be given? If a vaccination series is interrupted, does it need to be restarted or can it simply be resumed without repeating the last dose?

The Global Immunization Vision & Strategy 2006-2015 aims to protect more people by expanding beyond the traditional immunization target group. This includes those who may be "off schedule". Regardless of when children and individuals come in contact with immunization services, it is important that their immunization status be checked and that they are provided with the vaccines they need or have missed.

To help guide national programmes, WHO has consolidated its recommendations for interrupted and delayed vaccination into one summary table.

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