UN: The world faces the biggest drop in childhood vaccinations in 30 years

The United Nations has warned that some 25 million children missed one or more doses of the diphtheria, tetanus and polio vaccine in 2021, low coverage that has led to preventable outbreaks.

The Covid-19 pandemic has fueled the “largest continuous decline in vaccinations in three decades”, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a new report. report.

The two UN agencies are sounding the alarm as new data shows that global immunization coverage continued to decline in 2021, with 25 million infants missing out on life-saving vaccines.

According to the UN, this is the largest sustained drop in childhood vaccinations in about 30 years.

The Covid-19 crisis and misinformation are behind the largest continuous decline in childhood vaccination against other diseases in almost three decades, according to a report by WHO and UNICEF.

For Catherine Russell, Executive Director of UNICEF, “this is a red alert for children’s health. We are seeing the largest sustained decline in childhood immunizations in a generation. The consequences will be measured in human lives”.

This historic decline in vaccination rates comes against a backdrop of rapidly rising rates of severe acute malnutrition, according to the WHO.

This undercoverage ultimately led to preventable outbreaks of measles and polio over the past 12 months, the report said.

According to the UN, the reasons for this fall are multiple: conflicts, increased misinformation and problems with the supply or continuity of care linked to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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