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MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep ; 72(5): 113-118, 2023 Feb 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2226323


After the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 in late 2019, transmission expanded globally, and on January 30, 2020, COVID-19 was declared a public health emergency of international concern.* Analysis of the early Wuhan, China outbreak (1), subsequently confirmed by multiple other studies (2,3), found that 80% of deaths occurred among persons aged ≥60 years. In anticipation of the time needed for the global vaccine supply to meet all needs, the World Health Organization (WHO) published the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE) Values Framework and a roadmap for prioritizing use of COVID-19 vaccines in late 2020 (4,5), followed by a strategy brief to outline urgent actions in October 2021.† WHO described the general principles, objectives, and priorities needed to support country planning of vaccine rollout to minimize severe disease and death. A July 2022 update to the strategy brief§ prioritized vaccination of populations at increased risk, including older adults,¶ with the goal of 100% coverage with a complete COVID-19 vaccination series** for at-risk populations. Using available public data on COVID-19 mortality (reported deaths and model estimates) for 2020 and 2021 and the most recent reported COVID-19 vaccination coverage data from WHO, investigators performed descriptive analyses to examine age-specific mortality and global vaccination rollout among older adults (as defined by each country), stratified by country World Bank income status. Data quality and COVID-19 death reporting frequency varied by data source; however, persons aged ≥60 years accounted for >80% of the overall COVID-19 mortality across all income groups, with upper- and lower-middle-income countries accounting for 80% of the overall estimated excess mortality. Effective COVID-19 vaccines were authorized for use in December 2020, with global supply scaled up sufficiently to meet country needs by late 2021 (6). COVID-19 vaccines are safe and highly effective in reducing severe COVID-19, hospitalizations, and mortality (7,8); nevertheless, country-reported median completed primary series coverage among adults aged ≥60 years only reached 76% by the end of 2022, substantially below the WHO goal, especially in middle- and low-income countries. Increased efforts are needed to increase primary series and booster dose coverage among all older adults as recommended by WHO and national health authorities.

COVID-19 , Vaccines , Humans , Aged , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines , SARS-CoV-2 , Vaccination , World Health Organization
Euro Surveill ; 27(49)2022 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2162861


The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) presented a unique opportunity for the World Health Organization (WHO) to utilise public health intelligence (PHI) for pandemic response. WHO systematically captured mainly unstructured information (e.g. media articles, listservs, community-based reporting) for public health intelligence purposes. WHO used the Epidemic Intelligence from Open Sources (EIOS) system as one of the information sources for PHI. The processes and scope for PHI were adapted as the pandemic evolved and tailored to regional response needs. During the early months of the pandemic, media monitoring complemented official case and death reporting through the International Health Regulations mechanism and triggered alerts. As the pandemic evolved, PHI activities prioritised identifying epidemiological trends to supplement the information available through indicator-based surveillance reported to WHO. The PHI scope evolved over time to include vaccine introduction, emergence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variants, unusual clinical manifestations and upsurges in cases, hospitalisation and death incidences at subnational levels. Triaging the unprecedented high volume of information challenged surveillance activities but was managed by collaborative information sharing. The evolution of PHI activities using multiple sources in WHO's response to the COVID-19 pandemic illustrates the future directions in which PHI methodologies could be developed and used.

COVID-19 , Public Health , Humans , COVID-19/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2 , Pandemics/prevention & control , World Health Organization , Intelligence
Lancet Healthy Longev ; 2(7): e436-e443, 2021 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1294388


The 2030 Sustainable Development Goals agenda calls for health data to be disaggregated by age. However, age groupings used to record and report health data vary greatly, hindering the harmonisation, comparability, and usefulness of these data, within and across countries. This variability has become especially evident during the COVID-19 pandemic, when there was an urgent need for rapid cross-country analyses of epidemiological patterns by age to direct public health action, but such analyses were limited by the lack of standard age categories. In this Personal View, we propose a recommended set of age groupings to address this issue. These groupings are informed by age-specific patterns of morbidity, mortality, and health risks, and by opportunities for prevention and disease intervention. We recommend age groupings of 5 years for all health data, except for those younger than 5 years, during which time there are rapid biological and physiological changes that justify a finer disaggregation. Although the focus of this Personal View is on the standardisation of the analysis and display of age groups, we also outline the challenges faced in collecting data on exact age, especially for health facilities and surveillance data. The proposed age disaggregation should facilitate targeted, age-specific policies and actions for health care and disease management.

COVID-19 , Pandemics , Child, Preschool , Humans , Morbidity , Sustainable Development