Over 21M Children Missed Out on Measles Vaccination -WHO Report Reveals

By Mark N. Mengonfia- mmenginfia@gmail.com

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday, July 18, 2023 released its recent report on immunization around the world stating that 21.9 million children missed their routine first dose of measles far from 2019 levels of 19.2 million.

Key facts of the report states that the number of children missing out on any vaccination–so-called zero-dose children–improved from 18.1 million in 2021 to 14.3 million in 2022, nearly back to pre-pandemic 2019 level with 12.9 million, coverage of a third dose of vaccine protecting against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (DTP3) recovered from 81% in 2021 to 84% in 2022.

Also key highlights of the report says the proportion of children receiving a first dose of measles vaccine increased from 81% in 2021 to 83% in 2022, well below the 2019 level of 86%, global coverage for the first dose of HPV in girls raised from 16% in 2021 to 21% in 2022 and coverage of yellow fever vaccine in the countries at risk of it is 48%, well below the 80% coverage that is recommended.

According to the report, while immunization is one of the most successful public health interventions, coverage plateaued in the decade prior to COVID-19.

Is stated that the COVID-19 pandemic, associated disruptions, and vaccination efforts strained health systems in 2020 and 2021, resulting in dramatic setbacks. “However, from a global perspective recovery is on the horizon: in 2022 diptheria-pertussis-tetanus (DTP) immunization coverage almost recovered to 2019 levels” the report said.

According to the report, during 2022, about 84% of infants worldwide (110 million) received 3 doses of diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DTP3) vaccine, protecting them against infectious diseases that can cause serious illness and disability or be fatal.

“These global figures however hide significant disparity become countries of different income strata, with low-income countries lagging behind” the report intoned.

Measles, because of its high transmissibility, acts as an early warning system, quickly exposing any immunity gaps in the population. “Still, 21.9 million children missed their routine first dose of measles, far from 2019 levels of 19.2 million.”

Key challenges of the report according to the World Health Organization is that in 2022, 14.3 million infants did not receive an initial dose of DTP vaccine, pointing to a lack of access to immunization and other health services, and an additional 6.2 million are partially vaccinated.

“Of the 20.5 million, just under 60% of these children live in 10 countries: Angola, Brazil, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Mozambique, Nigeria, Pakistan and the Philippines” the report stated.

The report also released Immunization Agenda setting an ambitious, overarching global vision and strategy for vaccines and immunization for the decade 2021–2030.

“It was co-created with thousands of contributions from countries and organizations around the world. It draws on lessons from the past decade and acknowledges continuing and new challenges posed by infectious diseases (e.g. Ebola, COVID-19)” the report stated.

 

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