Some of these diseases include diphtheria, tetanus among others. Experts attribute this setback mainly to the coronavirus pandemic which disrupted the usual health services or triggered misinformation about vaccines, according to the U.N.
In a new report, the WHO and UNICEF said their figures show 25 million children last year failed to get vaccinations against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis.
This is a marker for childhood immunization coverage which is further trending downward ever since 2019.
“This is a red alert for child health. We are witnessing the largest sustained drop in childhood immunization in a generation,” said Catherine Russell, UNICEF’s Executive Director.
She further said the consequences of this will in the end be measured in lives that were lost. The biggest number of children that were not vaccinated came from developing countries according to the data. These countries are Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Nigeria and the Philippines.
While vaccine coverage fell in every world region, East Asia and the Pacific saw the worst effects.
According to scientists, the low vaccine coverage had already caused preventable outbreaks of diseases like polio and measles.
In the first quarter of 2020, the WHO and partners asked countries to halt their polio eradication drives. This was due to the increasing Covid-19. Since then, in over 30 countries, there have been dozens of major polio epidemics.
Dr. David Elliman, a consultant pediatrician at Britain’s Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, said it was critical to reverse the declining vaccination trend among children.
“The effects of what happens in one part of the world can ripple out to affect the whole globe,” he said in a statement, noting the rapid spread of COVID-19 and more recently, monkeypox. “Whether we act on the basis of ethics or ‘enlightened self interest’, we must put (children) top of our list of priorities.”
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