Menu Close

Covid-19 Guidelines

Health Workers and Administrators

Health workers are central to the COVID-19 pandemic response, balancing additional service delivery needs while preserving access to essential health services and deploying COVID-19 vaccines. They also face higher risks of infection in their efforts to protect the greater community and are exposed to hazards such as psychological distress, fatigue and stigma.

To address these challenges, WHO provides the latest advice, guidance and training for both health workers and administrators.

 

Readiness

To help policy-makers and planners invest in ensuring the readiness, education and learning of the health workforce, WHO provides support for strategic workforce planning, support and capacity-building.

Dedicated learning resources to support expanded clinical roles and tasks, as well as support for COVID-19 vaccines roll-out, are available for individual health workers. Managers and planners can access additional resources to support learning and education requirements.

  • OpenWHO has a multi-language course library that is also accessible through the¬†WHO Academy¬†COVID-19 learning app, which includes a new augmented reality course on personal protective equipment.
  • The¬†COVID-19 vaccine introduction toolbox¬†has the latest resources, including guidance, tools and trainings.

Learn how to utilise your role as a health worker and trusted source of information. You can also be a role model by getting the vaccine, protecting yourself and helping your patients and the public understand the benefits.

  • Review¬†WHO Information Network for Epidemics (EPI-WIN)¬†updates¬†for accurate information and clear explanations about COVID-19 and vaccines.
  • Access the¬†community engagement guide¬†for tips and discussion topics to be considered in vaccine delivery and demand.
  • Learn about¬†infodemic management: help your patients and communities manage the overabundance of information and learn how to seek trusted sources.
  • Diagnostic testing for SARS-CoV-2 infection; Use of the antigen detection; Different tests for COVID-19

Infection Prevention and Control

Preventing SARS-CoV-2 infections in health workers requires a multi-pronged, integrated approach of infection prevention and control (IPC) and occupational health and safety (OHS) measures.

WHO recommends that all healthcare facilities establish and implement IPC programmes and OHS programmes with protocols that ensure health worker safety and prevent infections with SARS-CoV-2 in the work environment.

A blame-free system for managing health worker exposures to COVID-19 should be in place to promote and support reporting of exposures or symptoms. Health workers should be encouraged to report both occupational and non-occupational exposures to COVID-19.

Occupational Safety and Health

WHO/ILO interim guidance COVID-19: Occupational health and safety for health workers, published 2 February 2020

This document provides specific measures to protect occupational health and safety of health workers and highlights the duties, rights and responsibilities for health and safety at work in the context of COVID-19.

Prevention of violence 

Measures for zero-tolerance of violence should be established in all health facilities and for protection of health workers in the community. Workers should be encouraged to report incidences of verbal, physical violate and sexual harassment. Security measures, including guards, panic buttons, cameras should be introduced. Staff should be trained in prevention of violence.

–¬†Access the document on violence prevention

Prevention of fatigue 

Develop working time schemes for the scheme for the different categories of health workers involved‚ÄĮ – ICUs, primary care, first responders, ambulances, sanitation etc., including maximum working hours per work shift (five eight-hours or four 10-hour shifts per week), frequent rest breaks (e.g. every 1-2 hours during demanding work) and minimum 10 consecutive hours of rest between work shifts.

–¬†Access the document on fatigue prevention

 

 

Compensation, hazard pay, priority treatment 

Excessive hours of work should be discouraged. Ensure adequate staffing levels to prevent excessive individual workloads, and minimize the risk of unsustainable working hours. Where extra hours are necessary, compensatory measures such as overtime pay or compensatory time off should be considered. Where necessary, and in a gender-sensitive manner, consideration should be given to mechanisms for determining hazardous duty pay. Where exposure and infection are work-related, health and emergency workers should be provided with adequate compensation, including when quarantined. In the event of scarcity of treatment for those contracting COVID19, each employer should develop, through social dialogue, a treatment distribution protocol and specify the priority of health and emergency workers in receiving treatment.

– Access the document on priority treatment

 

Clinical Care

Clinical management of patients with COVID-19: Initial approach to the acutely ill patient 

This course covers clinical management, including facility preparation and surge planning; health worker infection prevention and control; transfer and handover; clinical management of mild, moderate, and severely ill patients with COVID-19; special considerations for geriatric, pregnant, and pediatric patients with COVID-19; rehabilitation; and ethics and palliative care.

Clinical management of patients with suspected COVID-19 infection 

Short guidance is available for clinicians taking care of hospitalised adult and paediatric patients with severe acute respiratory infection. It is not meant to replace clinical judgment or specialist consultation but rather to strengthen clinical management of these patients and provide to up-to-date guidance.‚ÄĮ

– Access the guidance on clinical care

Interim guidance ‚Äď Home care for patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 and management of their contacts‚ÄĮ¬†

This provides recommendations on the safe home care for patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection. It includes guidance on how to determine if the home environment is suitable for a patient with COVID-19, and precautions to be taken by health care workers when caring for a patient in the home.

–¬†Access the document on home care¬†
–¬†Q&A on this guidance

 

Vaccination

The role of community health workers in COVID-19 vaccination supports national governments in developing their national deployment and vaccination plans for COVID-19 vaccines by outlining the roles, needs and opportunities for community health workers to contribute.

COVID-19 vaccine introduction toolkit
This toolbox equips all countries to prepare for and implement COVID-19 vaccination by providing guidance, tools, and training. It is intended to support ministries of health, health workers, partner organizations, and other stakeholders. 

OpenWHO COVID-19 vaccination training
This package is for frontline health workers. It was developed in collaboration with UNICEF and covers organizing, recording and monitoring vaccination; storage, handling, delivery and waste management; AEFI monitoring; and communication with the community on COVID-19 vaccination. To access PowerPoint slides for local trainings, email:¬†[email protected]

OpenWHO COVID-19 vaccine specific training
This provides an overview of how to safely prepare, handle, and administer COVID-19 vaccines that have received Emergency Use Listing (EUL).

Additional information on vaccines

Webinar on the science behind the immune response to viral infections such as SARS-COV-2, the different vaccine platforms being used to develop the COVID-19 vaccines, and access and allocation of vaccines. Includes a Q&A with Dr Martin Friedman, Coordinator of the Initiative for Vaccine Research, and Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, COVID-19 Technical Lead. (58 minutes)

COVID-19 vaccines and vaccination explained
Videos and podcasts for health workers and the public to address common questions about COVID-19 vaccines
From the WHO Collaborating Centre for Vaccine Safety

Health provider vaccination aides

COVID-19 vaccine introduction toolkit
This tool kit has guidance, tools, trainings and specific information on safety and details on each of the vaccines.

Aide-memoire: infection prevention and control (IPC) principles and procedures for COVID-19 vaccination activities.
Key IPC principles to consider and the precautions to take for safely delivering COVID-19 vaccines.

Preparing the space for COVID-19 vaccination

Preparing the space for covid vaccination

Infection prevention and control for COVID-19 vaccinators

infection prevention and control for covid-19 vaccinators

Vaccine checklist (PDF)
For frontline health care workers planning a COVID-19 vaccination session.

Health workers in focus: Policies and practices for successful public response to COVID-19 vaccination
This document from the WHO European Regional Office provides considerations for designing and implementing strategies to support and empower health workers. It is intended for use by governments, health authorities, and others involved in the COVID-19 pandemic response and vaccination rollout at national and subnational levels.

Communicating with patients and the community about vaccines

The OpenWHO COVID-19 vaccination training for health workers includes a module focused on effective and individualized communications strategies. To access this module, please enroll in the course and select Module 6.

Health worker vaccination communication flow chart (PDF)
This job aide supports health workers by outlining key steps and messages to communicate during a COVID-19 vaccination session.

How to talk about vaccines

This article from the series of explainers on vaccine development and distribution focuses on how to have a conversation about vaccines.

Webinar training on how to talk to patients about COVID-19 vaccination
Become a vaccination champion! Tips on how to talk to any patient about vaccination.

–¬†From the WHO European regional office– From the WHO/Pan American Health office, including sections on communicating with vaccine hesitant colleagues, in¬†Spanish¬†and¬†English

COVID-19 vaccination: building global capacity
This webinar series includes a session on intrapersonal communications for health workers (webinar #02). Recordings are available in English, French, and Spanish.

10 things healthcare workers should know about COVID-19 vaccines
This document is for healthcare workers involved in the COVID-19 immunization programme and contains answers to the most common questions about COVID-19 vaccines.

From the WHO/Pan American Health office
Communicating with the community about COVID-19 vaccination