According to data from the WHO, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations (GAVI), and the Sabin Vaccine Institute, 68 countries have suspended their immunization services and put at least 80 million children <1 year of age at risk (
Hence, various efforts were carried out by governments to improve the childhood vaccination rate. As a result of these efforts, the vaccination rate against deadly diseases such as measles and diphtheria began to recover in 2022 after a historic backslide caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
This is according to new figures from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). But the recovery of vaccination rate remains uneven, with an increase in large lower-middle income countries such as India and Indonesia masking ongoing problems in many smaller and poorer countries.
Childhood Vaccination Routine Starts to Recover After COVID-19 Pandemic
The number of children who missed out on one or more routine childhood vaccines went down from 24.4 million in 2021 to 20.5 million in 2022. Despite this progress, the numbers are still higher than in 2019 leaving 18.4 million children unprotected.
The numbers were estimated using data based on the take-up of three-dose diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (whooping cough) vaccines in 183 countries. It includes children who got no vaccines at all as well as those who missed any doses necessary for protection.
The childhood vaccination coverage rates were at 86% pre-pandemic, and 84% in 2022. 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 gotten worse (2✔ ✔Trusted Source
Childhood immunization begins recovery after COVID-19 backslide
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In 15 countries, the rate recovered to pre-pandemic levels, and 24 countries were on the route to recovery. WHO and UNICEF 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.
Amidst the rising Measles outbreaks, the coverage rates for measles vaccination continued to decline last year, to 66% compared with 67% in 2021 in low-income countries. When children are not vaccinated, they are prone to life-threatening diseases.
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 high-income countries and 55% in low and middle-income countries (3✔ ✔Trusted Source
Worldwide Estimation of Parental Acceptance of COVID-19 Vaccine for Their Children: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
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Apart from highlighting the issues in vaccination schedules, Organizations such as the WHO and UNICEF along with Gavi, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and other partners, gave a push earlier this year to help countries catch up on childhood vaccination.
- Children’s rates of COVID-19 vaccination as reported by parents, vaccine hesitancy, and determinants of COVID-19 vaccine uptake among children: a multi-country study from the Eastern Mediterranean Region – (https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12889-022-13798-2)
- Childhood immunization begins recovery after COVID-19 backslide – (https://www.who.int/news/item/18-07-2023-childhood-immunization-begins-recovery-after-covid-19-backslide)
- Worldwide Estimation of Parental Acceptance of COVID-19 Vaccine for Their Children: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis – (https://www.mdpi.com/2076-393X/11/3/533)
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