67 million children worldwide missed out on vaccines due to COVID-19, says UNICEF

67 million children worldwide missed out on vaccines due to COVID-19, says UNICEF

No fewer than 67 million children have missed out on vaccines entirely or partially between 2019 and 2021. According to UNICEF, this was due to lockdowns and disruptions in healthcare caused by the COVID-19 pandemic that killed millions of people globally.

The report, titled, “The State of the World’s Children 2023: For Every Child, Vaccination,” revealed that 48 million of those missed out entirely.

Vaccination coverage among children fell in 112 countries, and the global percentage of children vaccinated fell 5 percentage points to 81 percent, the lowest level since 2008. Africa and South Asia were especially affected.

The report also indicated that confidence in childhood vaccines declined by 44% in some countries during the pandemic.

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It added that instability and violence are significantly hindering children’s opportunities to be immunized. In 2018, 40 percent of the world’s zero-dose children lived in fragile or conflict-affected settings.

Commenting on the report, UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell said the data is a worrying warning signal.

The UN Children’s fund urged governments to “double down on their commitment to increase immunization financing,” with a focus on expediting “catch-up” vaccinations for those who missed their jabs.

UNICEF further emphasised on the need for authorities to identify children in urban and in rural areas who aren’t being reached. “This will involve strengthening community engagement, recovering human resources lost due to the need to respond to the pandemic, offering flexible vaccine services and empowering local health workers.”

UNICEF, originally called the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund in full, now officially United Nations Children’s Fund, is an agency of the United Nations responsible for providing humanitarian and developmental aid to children worldwide

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