The vaccination of children against various diseases fell further in 2021 due to disturbances pandemic caused in many health systems, so immunization programs suffer biggest setback in 30 decadesThe UN warned today.
Two of its agencies, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UNICEF (UNICEF), warned in a joint statement that, for example, 25 million children did not have Last year access to DTP3 vaccine against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussiscompared to 23 million in 2020.
Immunization coverage with DTP3 fell five points last year from 2019, to 81%, “showing a growing number of children at risk of preventable but devastating diseases”, the note said.
Vaccination before the pandemic has not been recovered
While 2021 was expected to bring some recovery from the hit to vaccination campaigns in 2020, the first year of the pandemic, vaccination coverage continued to decline last year (in the case of DTP3, to its lowest level since 2008 ). .
Most of the people involved in this case are children from low- and middle-income countrieswith particular emphasis on India, Nigeria, Indonesia, Ethiopia and the Philippinespointed out WHO and UNICEF.
Low vaccination against measles, poliomyelitis or papillomavirus
Also Vaccination coverage has declined illnesses like measleswhich also fell to its lowest level since 2008 (81%), leaving 24.7 million children without their first dose last year, 5.3 million more than in 2019.
However, compared to 2019, 6.7 million additional children were unable to access their third dose of polio vaccineWHO and UNICEF noted.
In the case of the vaccine against papillomavirusmore than a quarter of the coverage that was achieved in 2019 has been lost and the rate remains very low, at 15%, “with serious consequences for the health of women and girls”, warned the two UN agencies.
Compounded by increased child malnutrition
These situations are aggravated by the fact that they are increasing in many countries, the child malnutrition ratewhich weakens the natural immunity of children, “and means that common diseases can be fatal to them”.
“We are seeing the largest sustained decline in childhood immunizations in a generation, and the consequences will be measured in lives,” said UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell.