health

Disruptions to immunization put millions of children at risk: U.N.

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By LONDON/GENEVA

Millions of children whose immunizations have been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in Africa, are now at risk from life-threatening diseases such as measles, polio, yellow fever and diphtheria, U.N. health agencies warn.

Gaps in vaccination coverage have led to serious measles outbreaks in Pakistan and Yemen, the agencies said, and are likely to lead to future epidemics as more regular childhood vaccinations are missed.

"Gaps in vaccination coverage are already having grave, real world consequences," said the World Health Organization's(WHO)chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at a virtual briefing in which he also announced a new global immunization strategy.

The strategy aims to reduce by half the number of so-called "zero-dose" children receiving no inoculations from 20 million to 10 million, among other steps.

The WHO director of immunization Kate O'Brien told the same briefing such measures could avert up to 50 million deaths by 2030.

Compared to 2020, some progress has been made in restoring routine vaccinations disrupted by the pandemic. But more than a third of the 135 countries that responded to a WHO survey said they were still experiencing difficulties.

"Even before the pandemic, there were worrying signs that we were beginning to lose ground in the fight against preventable child illness, with 20 million children already missing out on critical vaccinations," Henrietta Fore, executive director of the U.N. children's fund UNICEF, said in a joint statement with the WHO and the GAVI vaccines alliance.

She said the pandemic had "made a bad situation worse".

The WHO survey found that at least 60 mass immunization campaigns in 50 countries were currently on hold, putting around 228 million people, mostly children, at risk from preventable serious diseases. More than half the affected countries are in Africa.

Immunization programs against measles - one of the world's most contagious diseases - account for 23 of the postponed campaigns, affecting around 140 million people.

© Thomson Reuters 2021.

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

2 Comments
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The anti-vaxxers must think all their Christmases have come at once. It would be nice if they could read an article like this one and realize that yes! This is what vaccination is all about, keeping diseases like measles, polio, tetanus and yellow fever at bay! I've been wrong to criticize it! . But no doubt we'll just get the usual reference to some one-off bad event in India or the usual dark conspiracy theories about Big Pharma, and the anti-vaxx brigade will continue their dismal work as (ab)normal.

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It clearly says that the problems already arose long before the corona pandemic. Also , there isn’t any COVID-19 vaccine already available, tested and OK’d for smaller children. Therefore it must be another bunch of reasons why those necessary other vaccinations have become more and more problematic. What is it? Lower production, impossible distribution, unavailable components, too speedy population growth? Maybe, all of them. So , what is it about? The article doesn’t give us a clue or details.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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