67,000,000 children missed routine vaccinations between 2019 and 2021 | tech news
Leading child health experts have sounded the alarm over the dwindling uptake of routine youth vaccinations after new estimates show tens of millions of people have missed out on life-saving shots in recent years.
Unicef has calculated that between 2019 and 2021, around 67 million children around the world did not receive routine vaccinations, thereby missing out on protection from potentially deadly diseases.
The international children’s organization said overall support for vaccines remains “relatively strong” but several factors suggest the “threat of vaccine hesitancy could increase”.
Those factors include uncertainty about how to respond to the pandemic, increasing access to misleading information, dwindling trust in expertise and political polarization, according to a new Unicef report.
Catherine Russell, Executive Director of Unicef, said: “At the height of the pandemic, scientists quickly developed vaccines that saved countless lives. Yet despite this historic achievement, fear and disinformation about all types of vaccines circulated as widely as the virus itself.
“We must not allow reliance on routine vaccinations to become another casualty of the pandemic, or else more children with measles, diphtheria or other preventable diseases could die in the next wave of deaths.”
Unicef said there was an urgent need to catch up on children who missed their vaccinations to “prevent deadly disease outbreaks”.
The latest annual figures for England show that vaccination coverage fell in 2021-22 compared to 2020-21. As a result, health officials issued strong warnings about the serious health risks of children who miss their routine vaccinations.
Young children in the UK are offered a range of vaccines as part of their routine childhood vaccinations. These protect against a number of serious diseases, including measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, polio and some forms of meningitis.
Britain’s Health Security Agency said last year vaccination rates had fallen over several years and had also faced “additional disruption” during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, Unicef UK has urged the government to work with the countries that have fallen furthest behind on routine child kicks.
Liam Sollis, Deputy Head of Advocacy at Unicef UK, said: “It is devastating that 67 million children in three years have gone unvaccinated.
“Healthcare systems and services that keep children alive are collapsing under the pressure of multiple global crises, while trust in those systems is also eroding.
“Vaccination rates at such low levels will result in undoing decades of progress for children.
“Unicef UK is calling on the UK Government to work with the hardest-hit countries to develop resilient health systems and fund vaccination services. Prioritizing catch-up programs and vaccinating missing children is the best way to demonstrate the UK’s commitment to ending preventable deaths.’
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