A warning from the World Health Organization and UNICEF – the coronavirus pandemic is threatening to disrupt immunization efforts worldwide, and that could reverse progress made against some serious illnesses.
While immunization coverage for some vaccines stalled before COVID-19 hit, a recent joint report from the WHO and UNICEF shows nearly 20 million children are under vaccinated – almost half of them live in the Africa region.
The report says for the first time in 28 years, the world could see a reduction in coverage for the vaccine protecting against diptheria, tetanus and pertussis, also known as whooping cough.
And at least 30 measles and rubella campaigns were also cancelled or at risk of being cancelled, which could likely result in intensified outbreaks.
The World Health Organization’s director general says, “vaccines are one of the most powerful tools in the history of public health, and more children are now being immunized than ever before. But the pandemic has put those gains at risk. The avoidable suffering and death caused by children missing out on routine immunizations could be far greater than COVID-19 itself.”