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Vaccine hesitancy sees drop in childhood jabs post pandemic – Unicef

The Covid-19 pandemic has been blamed for people worldwide losing confidence in the importance of routine childhood vaccines against killer diseases like measles and polio, the UN Children’s Fund (Unicef) said in a recently released report.

The agency said out of 52 of 55 countries surveyed, public perception of vaccines for children declined between 2019 and 2021, a “worrying warning signal” of rising vaccine hesitancy amid misinformation, dwindling trust in governments and political polarisation.

“We cannot allow confidence in routine immunisations to become another victim of the pandemic,” said Catherine Russell, Unicef executive director. “Otherwise, the next wave of deaths could be of more children with measles, diphtheria or other preventable diseases.”

In total, 67m children missed out on one or more potentially lifesaving vaccines during the pandemic, and efforts to catch up have so far stalled. despite increasing outbreaks, according to the report, its flagship annual State of the World’s Children.

Reuters reports that in countries including Papua New Guinea and South Korea, agreement with the statement that “vaccines are important for children” declined by 44%, and by more than a third in Ghana, Senegal and Japan. In the United States, it declined by 13.6 percentage points. In India, China and Mexico, confidence remained broadly the same or increased.

Despite the fall in confidence, more than 80% of respondents in almost half of the countries surveyed still said childhood vaccines were important.

The data were collected by the Vaccine Confidence Project at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

 

State of the World’s Children report (Open access)

 

Reuters article – People lost faith in childhood vaccines during COVID pandemic, UNICEF says (Open access)

 

See more from MedicalBrief archives:

 

WHO, Unicef flag worst decline in childhood immunisations in 30 years

 

COVID-19 globally causing massive disruption of vaccination of children

 

SA’s worst measles outbreak in 10 years – 600 cases and counting

 

 

 

 

 

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