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Childhood Vaccination Rates Begin To Recover Post-Pandemic: United Nations

In 2022, 20.5 million children missed out on one or more routine childhood vaccines, down from 24.4 million children in 2021

Childhood Vaccination Rates Begin To Recover Post-Pandemic: United Nations
Despite the progress, the numbers are still higher than in 2019, when 18.4 million children were not fully protected

LONDON: Efforts to vaccinate children worldwide against deadly diseases such as measles and diptheria began to recover in 2022 after a historic backslide caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to new figures from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

But the recovery remains uneven, with strong bouncebacks in large lower-middle income countries such as India and Indonesia masking ongoing problems in many smaller and poorer countries, the agencies said in a statement released on Tuesday (July 18).

In 2022, 20.5 million children missed out on one or more routine childhood vaccines, down from 24.4 million children in 2021. Despite the progress, the numbers are still higher than in 2019, when 18.4 million children were not fully protected.

The numbers are estimated from 183 countries, using data based on the take-up of the three-dose diptheria, tetanus and pertussis (whooping cough) jab, and include children who got no vaccines at all as well as those who missed any of the doses necessary for protection. Globally, coverage rates were at 86% pre-pandemic, and 84% in 2022.

Also Read: One Child Or Youth Died In Every 4.4 Seconds In 2021 Due To Lack Of Basic Health Care: UN Report 

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the numbers were “encouraging”, but there were concerns the most vulnerable were being left behind. He said,

When countries and regions lag, children pay the price.

Of the 73 countries that saw substantial declines in routine coverage during the pandemic, 34 – including countries such as Angola to Syria – have seen no improvement since or even got worse. Fifteen have recovered to pre-pandemic levels, and 24 were on the route to recovery, the WHO and UNICEF said.

The agencies also warned that measles vaccinations have not recovered as quickly, with 21.9 million children globally missing their first dose in 2022 – 2.7 million more than in 2019 – and 13.3 million their second. In low-income countries, coverage rates for measles actually continued to decline last year, to 66% compared with 67% in 2021, said Kate O’Brien, WHO head of immunization. Measles outbreaks are already on the rise. O’Brien told Reuters in an interview,

When children are not vaccinated, that means they are not immune to life-threatening diseases. Children are going to die.

Only rates of the HPV vaccination, which prevents cervical cancer, have recovered to pre-pandemic levels. But they remain below the 90% target, at 67% in the high-income countries and 55% in the low and middle-income countries where the shot has been introduced.

Alongside Gavi, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other partners, the WHO and UNICEF launched a push earlier this year to help countries catch-up on childhood vaccination.

Also Read: Kerala Government Allocates Additional Rs 200 Crore For Its Healthcare Scheme ‘Karunya Arogya Suraksha Padhathi’

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – theLGBTQ population,indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the currentCOVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water,SanitationandHygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fightmalnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health,adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues likeair pollution,waste management,plastic ban,manual scavengingand sanitation workers andmenstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India wheretoiletsare used andopen defecation free (ODF)status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched byPrime Minister Narendra Modiin 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.

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