Childhood vaccinations suffer biggest drop in 30 years, WHO and UNICEF say – Society

In 2021, childhood immunizations suffered the biggest sustained decline in about 30 years, the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF warned on Friday.

Specifically, according to their data, the percentage of children who received three doses of the diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (DTP) vaccine fell by 5 percentage points between 2019 and 2021, to 81%.

As a result, 25 million children missed one or more doses of DTP in 2021. This is 2 million more than in 2020 and 6 million more than in 2019.

According to the WHO and UNICEF, the decline is due to many factors, such as the increase in the number of children living in fragile and conflict contexts, where access to vaccines “is often a challenge”; increase in misinformation and issues related to COVID-19, such as service and supply chain disruptions, diversion of resources to response efforts, and containment measures that limit access and availability immunization services

“This is a red alert for children’s health. We are seeing the largest sustained decline in childhood immunizations in a generation. The consequences will be measured in lives. Although a hangover from the pandemic was expected last year due to disruptions and COVID-19, what we are seeing now is a continued decline. COVID-19 is no excuse. We need to catch up on vaccinations for the millions of people who lack, otherwise we will inevitably see more epidemics, more sick children, etc. strain on health systems, which are already under strain,” said UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell.

As many as 18 million of the 25 million children did not receive a single dose of DTP in 2021, the vast majority of whom live in low- and middle-income countries, India, Nigeria, Indonesia, l Ethiopia and the Philippines reporting the highest rates. The figures. Among the countries with the largest relative increases in the number of children who did not receive any vaccine between 2019 and 2021 are Myanmar and Mozambique.

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