Child vaccinations fall sharply amid pandemic, UN says

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Image copyright Unicef Image caption A boy is vaccinated in opposition to measles in Samoa final 12 months – many such programmes this 12 months have been disrupted by the pandemic The pandemic has led to a pointy fall within the variety of kids all over the world being vaccinated, the UN says.The decline in immunisation in opposition to diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough over the primary 4 months of the 12 months is the primary in nearly three many years.World Health Organization head Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus mentioned vaccines had been a massively highly effective public well being instrument.He mentioned the struggling and loss of life brought on by kids lacking out on vaccines may dwarf that brought on by the virus.Immunisation programmes in three-quarters of the greater than 80 international locations that responded to a UN survey have been disrupted, Unicef and the World Bank mentioned.They mentioned the disruptions had been linked to a scarcity of non-public protecting gear for well being employees, travel restrictions, low well being employee staffing ranges and a reluctance to go away home, all of which noticed programmes curbed or shut down.By May this 12 months a minimum of 30 measles vaccinations campaigns had been cancelled or had been in danger.Measles outbreaks had been already rising earlier than the pandemic struck, with 10 million individuals contaminated in 2018 and 140,000 deaths, most of whom had been kids, based on UN knowledge. Unicef head Henriette Fore mentioned the coronavirus had made routine vaccinations a “daunting challenge”.”We must prevent a further deterioration in vaccine coverage… before children’s lives are threatened by other diseases, she said, adding: “We can not commerce one well being disaster for an additional.” This will inevitably cost livesBy Richard Warry, assistant health editor, BBC NewsDisruption to the global immunisation programme is extremely bad news, particularly for the world’s poorest countries. It is estimated that immunisations save up to 3m lives a year by protecting children against serious diseases.The Unicef programme is specifically targeted at children who would otherwise struggle to receive good quality health care, but although vaccines now protect more children than ever before, millions of children still go without protection, and it is estimated that more than 1.5m people die each year from diseases that vaccines could prevent.Experts believe that low immunisation rates among poor and marginalised children seriously compromise all the gains made in other areas of maternal and child health, so major disruption on the scale outlined in this new report will inevitably cost a lot of lives.Coronavirus has consumed huge amounts of healthcare resources worldwide as the international community has focused on efforts to combat the deadly impact of the virus.It has also made delivery of healthcare difficult, particularly in poorer countries where supply chains have been disrupted, facilities and protective equipment can be basic, and fear of being infected has put people off attending clinics. But diseases such as measles, diphtheria, and cholera are already on the rise, underlining the urgency of finding ways to tackle this problem. Progress on immunisation had already been stalling before the pandemic, the UN agencies said.In 2019 nearly 14m children – more than half of them in Africa – did not get life-saving vaccines against diseases such as measles and diphtheria.Two-thirds of them were in 10 countries: Angola, Brazil, DR Congo, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, and The Philippines.World’s worst measles outbreak kills 6,000Meanwhile historically high rates of immunisation had fallen in Latin America and the Caribbean, the UN said, with immunisation coverage falling by at least 14 percentage points in Brazil, Bolivia, Haiti and Venezuela over the past decade.”The chance {that a} baby born right this moment will probably be absolutely vaccinated with all of the globally advisable vaccines by the point she reaches the age of 5 is lower than 20 %,” Unicef and the World Bank mentioned. Media playback is unsupported in your system Media captionWhy Covid-19 vaccine trials in Africa are each vital and controversial

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