The pandemic continues to reduce childhood vaccination against other diseases

This content was published on July 15, 2022 – 00:06

Geneva, July 15 (EFE).- The vaccination of children against various diseases fell again in 2021 due to the disruptions that the pandemic has caused in many health systems, for which vaccination programs are suffering their biggest setback since 30 decades, the United Nations warned today.

Two of its agencies, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), warned in a joint statement that, for example, 25 million children had not had access last year to the DTP3 vaccine against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis, compared 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.

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 those affected in this case are children in low- and middle-income countries, with a particular incidence in India, Nigeria, Indonesia, Ethiopia and the Philippines, WHO and UNICEF pointed out.

Immunization coverage against diseases like measles has also fallen, also falling to the lowest levels since 2008 (81%), which left 24.7 million children without their first dose last year, or 5 .3 million more than in 2019.

On the other hand, compared to 2019, an additional 6.7 million children were unable to access their third dose of polio vaccine, WHO and UNICEF said.

In the case of the HPV vaccine, more 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 United Nations agencies.

These situations are compounded by the fact that child malnutrition rates are rising in many countries, which weakens children’s natural immunity, “and means that common diseases can kill 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. ECE


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