Immunisation services world over started to recover from disruptions caused by COVID-19, but millions of children remain vulnerable to deadly diseases, said the World Health Organization , UNICEF and Gavi (Vaccine Alliance).
Meanwhile, the UN unveiled global Immunisation strategy on April 26 to reach more than 50 million children who missed vaccinations against measles, yellow fever and diphtheria because of the pandemic. WHO Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said “if we’re to avoid multiple outbreaks of life-threatening diseases like measles, yellow fever and dip there we must ensure routine vaccination services are protected in every country in the world.” He said this ahead of the World Immunisation Week.
UN Children’s Fund Executive Director Henrietta Fore said that there were signs even before the pandemic that the world was losing ground in the fight against preventable child illness, with 20 million children already missing out on vaccinations.
VACCINE DRIVE FELL
According to UNICEF vaccine deliveries fell from 229 billion in 2019 to just over two billion vaccine doses in 2020. Fore commented that Covid 19 made a bad situation worse, causing millions of children go unimmunized. “Now that vaccines are at the forefront of everyone’s minds, we must sustain this energy to help every child catch up on their vaccines. We have no time to waste. Lost ground means lost lives.”
Though Immunisation started to recover, a WHO Survey found that more than one third of respondent countries reported disruptions. According to the new Survey, 60 of these lifesaving campaigns are currently postponed in 50 countries. This puts about 228 million people, especially children, at risk.
Gavi CEO Dr Berkley said that millions are likely to miss out on basic vaccines as the present pandemic unravelled two decades of progress in routine immunization.
NEW GLOBAL IMMUSATION STRATEGY
The Agenda focuses on vaccination throughout life, from infancy through to adolescence and older age
Targets by 2030 include:
- Achieve 90 per cent coverage for essential vaccines given in childhood and adolescences
- Halve the number of children completely missing out on vaccines
- Complete 500 national or sub national introductions of new or underutilized vaccines
- World leaders and the global health and development community should make explicit commitments to New global immunization strategy. They must invest in stronger immunisation systems
- All countries should develop and implement national immunization plans that align with the New global immunization strategy
- Donors and governments should increase investments in vaccine research and innovation.