The covid-19 crisis and misinformation are behind the largest continuous decline in childhood vaccinations against other diseases in nearly three decadesaccording to a report from World Health Organization (WHO) y UNICEF released Thursday.
The proportion of children receiving all three doses of the vaccine against diphtheria, tetanus and poliomyelitis (DTP) fell from 86% in 2019 to only 81% in 2021. This vaccine is used as a key indicator of vaccination coverage in the world.
The fall in 2020 and 2021 is happening after a decade of improvements.
“This is a red alert for children’s health. We are witnessing the continuation of the largest decline in childhood vaccinationsl for a generation,” UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell said in a statement. “The consequences will be measured in lives.”
The reasons for this decline are multiple: conflicts, increased misinformation, and problems with supply or continuity of care related to the covid-19 pandemic.
It was planned that in 2021 a recovery after confinement, but rather vaccination rates continued to decline in all regions of the world.
This low coverage has led to preventable outbreaks of measles and poliomyelitis over the past 12 months, according to the report.
The news comes at a time when malnutrition rates are also on the rise. A malnourished child already has a weaker immune system and therefore more likely to develop severe cases of these preventable diseases.