UN: Routine Childhood Vaccines Slowed During Pandemic, Mexico Saw Major Drop

Published: Friday, July 16, 2021 - 5:33pm
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A report released Thursday shows that the number of children who missed routine vaccinations increased dramatically during the pandemic. Mexico was among countries where immunizations dropped substantially.

Nearly 23 million children missed out on basic childhood vaccines in 2020 — that’s almost 4 million more than in 2019, and the highest number in since 2009, according a report from the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund.

Most countries saw dips in childhood immunization, the report found, particularly in rural and underserved communities.

And Mexico is among 10 countries with the greatest increase in children not receiving a first dose of diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis combined vaccine — a key indicator of childhood immunization rates.

Those lagging vaccinations leave children vulnerable to disease.

“Even as countries clamor to get their hands on COVID-19 vaccines, we have gone backwards on other vaccinations, leaving children at risk from devastating but preventable diseases like measles, polio or meningitis,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director general was quoted as saying in a press release. “Multiple disease outbreaks would be catastrophic for communities and health systems already battling COVID-19, making it more urgent than ever to invest in childhood vaccination and ensure every child is reached.”

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