67 million children missed out on vaccines during pandemic - UNICEF

20 Apr 2023 01:21pm
picture for illustrative purposes- FILEPIC
picture for illustrative purposes- FILEPIC
WASHINGTON - At least 67 million children missed out entirely or partially on vaccines between 2019 and 2021 due to lockdowns and disruptions to healthcare caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, UNICEF said in a report Wednesday.

Of those, 48 million missed out entirely, the UN children's agency's report, titled "The State of the World’s Children 2023: For Every Child, Vaccination" revealed.

"Vaccines save lives, but far too many children in the world are not being vaccinated. The COVID-19 pandemic only added to their numbers," Anadolu Agency cited said the report.

It said that "in the past three years, more than a decade of hard-earned gains in routine childhood immunisation have been eroded," adding that getting back on track will be challenging.

"In percentage terms, the share of vaccinated children fell 5 percentage points to 81 per cent. In other words, around one in five children worldwide were not fully protected against vaccine-preventable diseases.”

"Worryingly, the backsliding during the pandemic came at the end of a decade when, in broad terms, growth in childhood immunisation had stagnated," said the report.

According to the data, confidence in childhood vaccines declined by 44 per cent in some countries during the pandemic.

Anadolu also reported UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell said the data is a worrying warning signal.

"We cannot allow confidence in routine immunizations to become another victim of the pandemic. Otherwise, the next wave of deaths could be of more children with measles, diphtheria or other preventable diseases," she said - BERNAMA
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