M&RP partners at the UN Foundation’s Shot@Life program recently published an article in Stat regarding the annual WHO/UNICEF estimates of national immunization coverage report, which shows a concerning decrease in vaccination coverage around the world. Over the past year fewer children have received routine immunizations, with an estimated 23 million missing basic vaccines. This situation puts children at risk of resurgent and deadly diseases like measles and polio, which are more life-threatening to children than Covid-19.
Even as the world races to distribute billions of Covid-19 shots, countries must not lose sight of other threats as the world cannot afford to lose decades of hard-fought progress against other vaccine preventable diseases. Local health systems must be strengthened to reach these missed children. UNICEF, WHO, and the vaccine alliance Gavi are helping restore local vaccination campaigns through outreach, emphasizing the safety and importance of vaccines, and pinpointing families who missed doses, while also addressing the complex launch of Covid-19 vaccination efforts. Governments and organizations must redouble their commitments to vaccine equity by investing in local health resources and implementing robust vaccination plans.
With the world undertaking the largest global vaccine rollout in history to fight Covid-19, every possible synergy must be explored to ensure that sufficient health worker capacity, financing, monitoring efforts, and vaccine confidence-building are in place on all vaccine delivery fronts. Achieving the bold vision laid out in the global Immunization Agenda 2030, which aims to vaccinate 90% of children and adolescents worldwide, will be possible only with strong multilateral cooperation energized by political will.
The full article on Stat can be found here.