COVID-19 has impacted children's immunization rates, putting the lives of children at risk. The present study assesses the impact of phone-call counseling, on immunization uptake during the pandemic. Families of babies discharged from the SNCUs in six government centers in three South Indian states were recruited. Calls were made 10 days after the immunization due date. Missed vaccinees were counseled and followed up on 7 and 15 days. Of 2313 contacted, 2097 completed the survey. Respondents were mostly mothers (88.2%), poor (67.5%), and had secondary level education (37.4%). Vaccinations were missed due to the baby's poor health (64.1%), COVID-19 related concerns (32.6%), and lack of awareness (16.8%). At the end of the intervention, the immunization uptake increased from 65.2% to 88.2%. Phone-call intervention can safely support immunization and lower the burden on health workers.
Keywords: COVID; SNCU babies; immunization uptake.