The World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Children Fund(UNICEF) and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance have warned that millions of children remain vulnerable to deadly diseases at a time immunization services have started to recover from disruptions caused by Covid-19.
The three organizations have released a statement in the world immunization week calling for an urgent need of a global commitment to improve vaccine access and uptake.
A WHO survey has found that, despite progress when compared to the situation in 2020, 37 % of respondent countries (37%) still report experiencing disruptions to their routine immunization services.
In the joint statement, WHO director general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus mentioned of the importance of ensuring that routine vaccination services are protected in every country in order to ensure children are not affected by life threatening diseases such as measles, yellow fever among others.
Campaigns to immunize against measles, which is one of the most contagious diseases and can result in large outbreaks wherever people are unvaccinated, are the most impacted.
In the statement UNICEF’s Executive director Henrietta Fore stated that even before the pandemic there were worrying signs that we had begun losing ground in the fight against preventable child illnesses with 20 million children already missing out on critical vaccinations.
Additionally Fore said, Now that vaccines are at the forefront of everyone’s minds, we must sustain this energy to help every child catch up on their measles, polio and other vaccines.
Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance said Millions of children across the world are likely to miss out on basic vaccines as the current pandemic threatens to unravel two decades of progress in routine immunization.
Nonetheless the three organizations have recommended that to achieve the Immunization Agenda for 2030, world leaders and the global health and development community must among other things invest in stronger immunization systems and develop and implement ambitious national immunization plans that align with the Immunization Agenda 2030 framework.