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

Global childhood vaccination rates experienced the largest decline in about three decades amid COVID-19 disruptions, with 25m children missing out on at least one dose of DTP through routine services in 2021 alone, 2m more than in 2020, and 6m more than in 2019, reports Bloomberg.

The percentage of children who received three doses of the vaccine against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DTP3) was set back to its lowest level since 2008, falling to 81% in 2021, according to official data published by the World Health Organisation and UN Children’s Fund.

Vaccine coverage dropped in every region, with the East Asia and Pacific region recording the steepest reversal in DTP3 coverage.

“This is a red alert for child health,” said Unicef executive director Catherine Russell, “the largest sustained drop in childhood immunisation in a generation. The consequences will be measured in lives.”

Immunisation catch-ups for the “missing millions” of children are urgently needed to avoid more outbreaks, more sick children and greater pressure on already strained health systems, she said.

Officials earlier estimated that 2021 would be a year of recovery for childhood vaccines after the initial COVID-19 shock passed. Yet the sharp two-year decline further worsened almost a decade of stalled progress.


Bloomberg News –Unicef flags worst decline in childhood shots in 30 years (Restricted access)


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COVID-19 globally causing massive disruption of vaccination of children


Africa: Benefits of childhood vaccination programmes far outweigh risks of COVID-19 transmission


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