SciELO - Scientific Electronic Library Online

vol.94 issue1Incidence of infective endocarditis in a national reference Neonatology Department in 2009-2019Association of cervical-facial and subglottic hemangioma in neonates author indexsubject indexarticles search
Home Pagealphabetic serial listing  

Services on Demand



Related links


Archivos de Pediatría del Uruguay

Print version ISSN 0004-0584On-line version ISSN 1688-1249


BAZZINO, Fernando et al. Role of the Honorary Commission for the Fight against Tuberculosis and Prevalent Diseases (CHLA-EP) in the National Vaccination Strategy against COVID-19 in Uruguay. November 2020 - July 2021. Arch. Pediatr. Urug. [online]. 2023, vol.94, n.1, e209.  Epub June 01, 2023. ISSN 0004-0584.

The new Coronavirus SARS CoV-2 pandemic was declared at the beginning of March 2020 when the Uruguayan government appointed the National Contingency Plan for the COVID-19 disease caused by this virus. This plan included non-pharmacological preventive measures such as: hand hygiene, physical distancing, use of different types of masks according to the risk of who should wear them, in some periods, restrictions to mobility, educational activities or public shows, and movement by land, air or sea. Responsible freedom was strongly called for. In December 2020, the Vaccination Strategy was included as a primary prevention mechanism. On 3/1/2021, the COVID-19 2021 Vaccination Campaign began, it was non-mandatory, population-based, initially for people over 19 years of age, and for adolescents between 12 and 17 years of age and pregnant women since June. The National Honorary Scientific Advisory Group (GACH) together with the National Vaccine Advisory Committee (CNAV) of the Ministry of Public Health (MSP) that has vast experience in advising health authorities in scientific decisions on the introduction of vaccines, and an ad-Hoc Commission created for COVID-19 vaccines, brought together experts to advise on the vaccination strategy. The Honorary Commission for the Fight Against Tuberculosis and Prevalent Diseases (CHLA-EP), as the operational branch of the MSP’s Department of Immunizations, has participated with all stakeholders since December to implement the COVID-19 Population Vaccination Campaign without neglecting their tasks regarding the vaccination to prevent other infectious diseases.


a descriptive, retrospective study was carried out regarding the strategies implemented by the Immunization Operational Department (operational branch of the Ministry of Health’s Immunization Department), A. Calmette Laboratory, Honorary Commission, General Coordination and Administrative Departments between November, 2020 and July 2021.

Data source:

reports were issued or provided specially for this work by the Immunization Operational Department, A. Calmette Laboratory, by the Ministry of Public Health’s immunization Department, Human Resources, Material Resources, Support, Communication and Design Service, Peripheral Centers, Executive Board and General secretariat.


the results of the 4 periods are as follows: 1- Planning (Period November - December 2020), 2- Training, hiring of human resources and advice for the acquisition of qualitative and quantitative material resources (January - February 2021), 3- Opening of COVID-19 vaccination centers (Hubs), posts and launch of the COVID-19 Campaign (March 2021), 4- Overlap of the 2021 flu campaign (April-June) and maintenance of vaccine coverage (National Immunization Programme - PNI).

1- Planning: The characteristics of the different vaccines (dead virus vaccines, vector vaccines and in particular mRNA vaccines, with storage requirements of -70ºC, transfer and distribution requirements of -25ºC, and reconstitution and use of +2 + 8ºC) were taken into account in the different scenarios. Risk and costs analysis were performed. We interchanged data with different companies that provided this service, we participated in training activities with some of them, mainly in the design of a solid cold chain without failures (e.g. a Vac-Q-tec training activity). The transfer of vaccines to hubs, tertiary vaccination centers or peripheral vaccination centers was designed. The different destination site of the vaccines, the different possible scenarios were taken into account, both at local central level (Montevideo - Carrasco International Airport), but also at National level using the different air terminals. Similarly, strategies for the distribution of vaccines by land were planned involving different public or private actors based on the institutions’ experience, both regarding the vaccination campaign and in the PNI maintenance. We made a supply acquisition plan for the vaccine’s storage and distribution, for the vaccination itself, and for the purchase of supplies jointly with the Procurement Department of the Ministry of Economy and Executive Secretariat of the MSP. Six-people vaccination teams were created with clear roles and with the slogan of rapid, universal, free and safe vaccination for all.

2- Training: Courses and materials were organized for the staff to acquire updated knowledge about SARS CoV 2 and COVID-19, transmission mechanisms, use and planning of use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and of course, a detailed monitoring of the vaccines being developed. We carried out a thorough analysis of the vaccine companies to arrive in Uruguay, we focused on 3 of them (Pfizer BioNtech, CoronaVac, Oxford AZ). Training was carried out by roles (vaccinators, preppers, administrators, position referents, backups). Special emphasis was placed on the training of the care of the person to be vaccinated, registration of the vaccination act, end-to-end cold chain, disposal of used materials and filing out inspection forms. All the contents and materials were available on the Institution’s webpage. Human resources: human resources were allocated for the creation, signature and registration of the paperwork for 1,463 new contracts for teams across the country. These resources were allocated not only to vaccination itself, but also to actively participate in each of the vaccination posts. This meant that the work was multiplied by 6 for the tasks required during this period. The Department of Material Resources, went from packaging and distributing from 7 to 15 packages a month to 80 packages a month for each Peripheral/Vaccination Center. Material shipment quadrupled at the beginning of the campaign and it eventually grew by five and sixfold. Some of the key figures to highlight are: 3, 300,000 needle syringes, 8,800 liters of Eucalyptus Alcohol, 852,000 latex and nitrile gloves and 141,000 isolation gowns.

3. COVID-19 Vaccination Hubs, Posts and Campaigns. We gradually opened maximum response mass vaccination Hubs in Montevideo (8), Canelones (1) and Maldonado (1). Since it was had been decided to vaccinate 3 to 5 people every 15 minutes, the primary results at the Hospital de Clínicas Hub were 211,153 doses administered in 32 vaccination posts, and at Antel Arena Hub 615,637 doses were administered in its 15 vaccination posts. As of July 31, there were 144 COVID 19 vaccination posts throughout the national territory. The distribution was made nationwide: 3,229,320 Sinovac vaccine doses, 97,790 Oxford-Astra Zeneca vaccine doses, and 1,585,452 Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine doses. We devised 60 teams including a referent (identification, registration, control), a trainer, 2 vaccinators and vaccination driver for Homes for the Elderly at ELEPEM and people needing special care. They actively participated in the vaccination at ELEPEM, Shelters and Schools for Children with Special Needs and visited a total of 1679 Institutions and overall, 35,006 people were vaccinated.

4- Overlap of the 2021 flu campaign (April-June) and the maintenance of the COVID vaccine coverage (National Immunization Programme - PNI). Since 04/24/2021, the Anti-Flu Campaign began, and it overlapped the COVID-19 campaign described above, which meant reinforcing strategies and expanding actions to be able to carry out both campaigns simultaneously, always with the objective of maintaining the National Immunization Program. Vaccination was carried out at the ELEPEM, as it is performed annually by the commission and vaccination of COVID-19, influenza and PNI was performed on the territory. According to the data received on July 17 in the Ministry of Public Health Immunization Unit Report (week 12), there were 605,802 registered doses, of which at least 87,802 had been administered by the Institution. This difference regarding previous campaigns could have been caused by the intense work carried out during the COVID19 Vaccination Campaign. Within the framework of the inter-institutional activity “Barrio a Barrio” (Vaccination in all Neighborhoods), 7,225 people were vaccinated with the influenza vaccine at the CHLA-EP mobile vaccination bus in Montevideo.

The CHLA-EP has contributed with logistics and vaccination with a 2-dose schedule for the 3 platforms and a booster dose for those who received virus vaccines. The CHLA-EP has contributed to achieving the target of the COVID-19 Vaccination Campaign between 1/3 and 8/29/21: 5,487,181 doses were applied, 2,065,269 people received 1 dose of vaccine and 2,496,290 of them received 2 doses and 333,662 have received booster doses.


the planning, training, provision of human and material resources has enabled us to successfully carry out two historical simultaneous vaccination campaigns in hubs, vaccination centers, ELEPEM and all along the territory.

Keywords : Pandemics; SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19; Contingency plans; COVID-19 vaccines; Vaccination strategy.

        · abstract in Spanish | Portuguese     · text in Spanish     · Spanish ( pdf )