Discontinuation of antimicrobial stewardship programs (ASPs) and increased antibiotic use were described during SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. In order to measure COVID-19 impact on ASPs in a setting of high multidrug resistance organisms (MDRO) prevalence, a qualitative survey was designed. In July 2021, eighteen ID Units were asked to answer a questionnaire about their hospital characteristics, ASPs implementation status before the pandemic and impact of SARS-CoV-2 pandemic on ASPs after the 1st and 2nd pandemic waves in Italy. Nine ID centres (50%) reported a reduction of ASPs and in 7 cases (38.9%) these were suspended. After the early pandemic waves, the proportion of centres that restarted their ASPs was higher among the ID centres where antimicrobial stewardship was formally identified as a priority objective (9/11, 82%, vs 2/7, 28%). SARS-CoV-2 pandemic had a severe impact in ASPs in a region highly affected by COVID-19 and antimicrobial resistance but weaknesses related to the pre-existent ASPs might have played a role.
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