Coronavirus Update: 25 million children at risk of getting dangerous but preventable illnesses amid steep backslide in vaccinations

by | Jul 15, 2022 | Stock Market

The coronavirus pandemic has caused the biggest backslide in childhood vaccinations in about 30 years, putting some 25 million children at risk of contracting a dangerous but preventable disease, the World Health Organization and Unicef said Friday. “The percentage of children who received three doses of the vaccine against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DTP3) — a marker for immunization coverage within and across countries — fell 5 percentage points between 2019 and 2021 to 81%,” the agencies said in a joint statement.

That means 25 million children have missed out on one or more doses of vital immunizations in 2021 alone, 2 million more than in 2020 and 6 million more than in 2019. The decline was caused by a set of factors, including the growing number of children now living in conflict zones, but it was exacerbated by misinformation and COVID-related issues such as supply-chain snags and resource diversion to response efforts. “This is a red alert for child health. We are witnessing the largest sustained drop in childhood immunization in a generation. The consequences will be measured in lives,” said Catherine Russell, Unicef’s executive director, in the statement.

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