WHO and Unicef ​​warn of biggest drop in childhood vaccines in 30 years

The SGD there UNICEF sound the alarm on newly released data showing global vaccine coverage continued to decline in 2021, with 25 million babies without vaccines that save lives, the lowest sato in 30 years.

The percentage of children who received three doses of the diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DTP3) 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 through services in 2021. This is 2 million more than in 2020 and 6 million more than in 2019, highlighting the increasing number of children at risk of devastating but preventable diseases.

The decline was due to many factors, including an increased number of children living in fragile and conflict-affected settings where access to immunization is often a challenge, increased misinformation, and COVID-19 related issues such as service and supply chain disruptions, measures that limit access and availability of 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“, said Catherine RussellExecutive Director of UNICEF. “While a pandemic hangover was expected last year due to COVID-19 disruptions and lockdowns, what we are seeing now is a continued decline. COVID-19 is no excuse. We need to catch up on vaccinating the millions of people missing, otherwise we will inevitably see more epidemics, more sick children and greater strain on already overstretched health systems. »

At the World level, more than a quarter of HPV vaccine coverage has been lost reached in 2019. This has serious implications for the health of women and girls, as global coverage of the first dose of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine is only 15%, although the first vaccines have been certified over 15 years ago.

2021 was to be a catch-up year in which overstretched immunization programs would be rebuilt and the cohort of children lost in 2020 would recover. Instead, DTP3 coverage fell to its lowest level since 2008, which which, combined with declining coverage of other core vaccines, has derailed the world to achieve global targets, including the immunization indicator for Sustainable Development Goals.

This historic decline in vaccination rates comes against a backdrop of rapidly rising rates of severe acute malnutrition. A malnourished child already has weakened immunity, and missed vaccinations can mean common childhood illnesses quickly become deadly for them.

“Planning for and responding to COVID-19 must also go hand in hand with vaccination against deadly diseases like measles, pneumonia and diarrhoea,” he said. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the WHO. “It’s not a matter of one or the other, it’s possible to do both.”

Especially, some countries have delayed falls. Uganda and Pakistan maintained high coverage levels in routine immunization programs while implementing a targeted COVID-19 vaccination program to protect priority populations, including health workers.

Considerable efforts will be needed to reach universal levels of coverage and prevent epidemics. Inadequate coverage levels have already led to preventable measles and polio outbreaks in the past 12 months, underscoring the vital role of immunization in keeping children, adolescents, adults and societies healthy.

WHO and UNICEF are working with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and other partners to respond to Global Immunization Program 2030 (IA2030), a strategy for all countries and relevant global partners to achieve the goals set for disease prevention through immunization and the delivery of vaccines to everyone, everywhere and at all ages.

  1. 1

    Intensify immunization catch-up efforts to close the gap in routine immunization, expand outreach services to underserved areas to reach missing children, and implement campaigns to prevent outbreaks

  2. 2

    Implement evidence-based, people-centered, and personalized strategies to build trust in vaccines and immunization, counter misinformation, and increase vaccine uptake, especially among vulnerable communities

  3. 3

    Ensure that ongoing pandemic preparedness and response and efforts to strengthen the global health architecture lead to investments in primary health care (PHC) services, with explicit support for strengthening and maintaining essential vaccination

  4. 4

    Obtain political commitment from national governments and increase domestic resource allocation to scale up and sustain immunization as part of PHC

  5. 5

    Prioritize strengthening health information and disease surveillance systems to provide the data and monitoring needed for programs to have maximum impact

  6. 6

    Leverage and increase investment in research to develop and improve new and existing vaccines and immunization services that can meet community needs and achieve IA2030 goals

Leave a Comment