25 million children did not receive routine vaccinations due to Covid-19

About 25 million kids all over the world have been lost routine immunizations against common diseases such as diphtheria, largely because the Covid-19 disrupted regular health services, according to data released Thursday by the World Health Organization and UNICEF.

“There has been the largest sustained decline in vaccines in approximately 30 years,” the organizations said in a press release.

Between 2019 and 2021, there was a 5-point drop in the percentage of children who received three doses of DTP3, the vaccine against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis. This reduced coverage to 81%.

DTP3 coverage is used as a marker for broader immunization coverage, the WHO and UNICEF said.

Why did 25 million children go without essential vaccines?

Why did 25 million children go without essential vaccines? Red alert for children’s health.

There were several factors behind the declines in routine vaccination in children, including a higher number of children living in conflict and other fragile settings, increased misinformation and issues related to Covid-19.

“As a result, 25 million children did not receive one or more doses of DTP through routine immunization services in 2021 alone. This is 2 million more than did not receive in 2020 and 6 million more than in 2019, which that highlights the growing number of children at risk of devastating but preventable diseases,” they said.

As we report in AmericanPost.NewsEighteen million of these children did not receive a single dose of the vaccine, most of whom lived in low- and middle-income countries.

Other decreases were observed in HPV, with which more than a quarter of the coverage achieved in 2019 was lost, and measles, with which first dose coverage fell to 81% in 2021. The WHO points out that this is the lowest level since 2008 and means 24.7 million children missed their first dose in 2021.

All regions experienced a drop in vaccination coverage, with the steepest drop in DTP3 coverage in the East Asia and Pacific region. However, some countries were able to contain the declines, including Uganda and Pakistan.

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Red alert for children’s health

Red alert for children’s health.

“This is a red alert for child health. We are witnessing the largest sustained drop in child immunization in a generation. The consequences will be measured in lives,” said UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell.

“While a pandemic hangover was expected last year as a result of Covid-19 disruptions and lockdowns, what we are seeing now is a continued decline. Covid-19 is not an excuse. We need more vaccines to catch up.” , he added.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said “planning for and fighting Covid-19 must also go hand in hand with vaccination against deadly diseases such as measles, pneumonia and diarrhoea. It is not about one or the other, it is possible to do both”.

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