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COVID-19 Pandemic Causes Vaccination Setback: UN

By Rodrigo Andrade | Fri, 07/15/2022 - 15:48

A report from the UN and its International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) shows that global vaccination coverage declined sharply in 2021. This has been the deepest decrease in childhood immunization in 30 years. 

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

The growing number of children living in environments with limited security, misinformation and COVID-19 related problems, including the focus of economic resources and medical supplies to fight the pandemic, are the main reasons behind the drastic decline in children immunization. “While a pandemic hangover was expected last year as a result of the disruptions and blockages caused by COVID-19, what we are seeing now is a continued decline. COVID-19 is not an excuse. We need to catch up the immunization of the missing millions or we will inevitably witness more outbreaks, more sick children and increased pressure on already strained health systems,” said Russell.

The number of children who received all three doses of the diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis vaccine (DTP3) decreased by 5 percent between 2019 and 2021 to only 81 percent. This means that 25 million children did not receive one or more doses of DTP3 through the standard routine of immunization services last year. This puts an unprecedented number of children at risk of a devastating but preventable disease. 

“It is heartbreaking to see more children losing protection against preventable diseases for the second year in a row. The Alliance's priority must be to help countries maintain, restore and strengthen routine immunization along with the implementation of COVID-19's ambitious vaccination plans, not only through vaccines, but also through tailored structural support to the health systems that will administer them,” said Seth Berkley, General Director, Gavi (The Vaccine Alliance). 

Mexican children fell behind on their basic vaccination schemes during the pandemic. By December 2021, only three out of every 10 Mexican children under the age of four had received their full vaccination scheme. On the other hand, children over the age of five years old can get a COVID-19 vaccine, as reported by MBN. 

Photo by:   Belova59
Rodrigo Andrade Rodrigo Andrade Junior Journalist & Industry Analyst