Medical Health Cluster

28 septiembre, 2022

Backslide in Global Childhood Vaccinations

Worldwide childhood vaccinations continued to decline in 2021, fueled by a multitude of factors from COVID-19 to challenging immunization settings, according to a statement by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

The percentage of children who received 3 doses of the vaccine against diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DTP)—a marker for immunization coverage within and across countries—fell 5 percentage points to 81% in 2021 from 86% in 2019, the statement reported. An estimated 25 million children missed out on 1 or more DTP doses in 2021, which is 2 million more than those who missed out in 2020 and 6 million more than in 2019.

First-dose measles coverage dropped to 81% in 2021, the lowest level since 2008. This meant that 24.7 million children missed their first measles dose in 2021 (5.3 million more than in 2019) and 14.7 million did not receive their needed second dose, the statement reported. Additionally, compared with 2019, 6.7 million more children missed the third dose of the polio vaccine and 3.5 million missed the first dose of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine. Globally, overall first-dose coverage of the HPV vaccine stands at just 15%, according to the statement.

Factors driving these declines, the statement noted, include increasing numbers of children living in conflict and settings where immunization access is challenging, increased misinformation, and COVID-19–related issues such as service and supply chain disruptions and containment measures that limited immunization services.

“This is a red alert for child health,” Catherine Russell, UNICEF executive director, said in the statement. “COVID-19 is not an excuse. We need immunization catch-ups for the missing millions or we will inevitably witness more outbreaks, more sick children, and greater pressure on already strained health systems.”

Créditos: Comité científico Covid

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