What’s in the news?
- UNICEF in its recent report said that around 67 million children partially or fully missed routine vaccines globally between 2019 and 2021 because of lockdowns and healthcare disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
- The report noted that more than a decade of hard-earned gains in routine childhood immunization have been eroded, adding that getting back on track will be challenging.
- Of the 67 million children whose vaccinations were severely disrupted, 48 million missed out on routine vaccines entirely, UNICEF said, flagging concerns about potential polio and measles outbreaks.
- Vaccine coverage among children declined in 112 countries and the percentage of children vaccinated worldwide slipped 5 points to 81 percent, a low not seen since 2008. Africa and South Asia were particularly hard hit.
- Vaccines save 4.4 million lives each year, a number the United Nations figures could jump to 5.8 million by 2030 if its ambitious targets to leave “no one behind” are met.
- Before the introduction of a vaccine in 1963, measles killed approximately 2.6 million people each year, mostly children. By 2021, that number had fallen to 128,000.
- The slide in vaccination rates could be compounded by other crises, from climate change to food insecurity.
- UNICEF called on governments to double down on their commitment to increase financing for immunization with special attention on accelerating catch-up vaccination efforts for those who missed their shots.