Hanoi (VNA) – The Vietnamese government is working to get routine childhood immunization back on track, UNICEF Vietnam Representative Rana Flowers said July 19.
“We look forward to seeing Vietnam return to the strong child and adolescent immunization system it had in place before the pandemic – the system that has stood strong to deliver COVID-19 vaccines safely and effectively. to the people,” Flowers said.
“Parents need to be assured that catching up on recommended vaccinations for their youngest is essential – if preventable deaths are to be avoided,” she added.
Considerable efforts will be needed to reach universal levels of coverage and prevent epidemics around the world. Inadequate coverage levels have already led to preventable measles and polio outbreaks in the past 12 months, underscoring the vital role of immunization in keeping children, adolescents, adults and societies healthy.
WHO and UNICEF are sounding the alarm on July 15 as new data shows that global immunization coverage continued to decline in 2021, with 25 million infants going without life-saving vaccines.
The percentage of children who received three doses of the diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DTP3) vaccine – a marker of vaccination coverage within and between countries – fell by 5 percentage points between 2019 and 2021 to establish at 81%.
As a result, 25 million children missed one or more doses of DTP through routine immunization services in 2021 alone. That’s 2 million more than those who missed in 2020 and 6 million more than in 2019, highlighting the growing number of children at risk of devastating but preventable diseases. This decline is due to many factors, including an increased number of children living in conflict zones and fragile areas where access to vaccination is often difficult, increased misinformation, and COVID-19 related issues such as service and supply chain disruptions, diversion of resources to response efforts and containment. measures limiting access and availability of immunization services.
“This is a red alert for children’s health. We are seeing the largest sustained decline in childhood immunizations in a generation. The consequences will be measured in lives,” said Catherine Russell, Chief Executive Officer of the UNICEF.”While a pandemic hangover was expected last year due to COVID-19 disruptions and lockdowns, what we are seeing now is a continued decline. COVID-19 is no excuse We need to catch up on immunization for the millions missing, otherwise we will inevitably see more epidemics, more sick children and increased pressure on already strained health systems.
A total of 18 million of the 25 million children have not received a single dose of DTP during the year, the vast majority of whom live in low- and middle-income countries, India, Nigeria, Indonesia, Ethiopia and the Philippines recording the highest numbers. Among the countries with the largest relative increases in the number of children who did not receive a single vaccine between 2019 and 2021 are Myanmar and Mozambique.
Globally, more than a quarter of the HPV vaccine coverage achieved in 2019 has been lost. This has serious implications for the health of women and girls, as global coverage of the first dose of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine is only 15%, although the first vaccines were licensed there. over 15 years ago.
In Vietnam, more than 251,000 children missed one or more doses of DTP per routine vaccination services in 2021, an almost fourfold increase from 63,001 in 2019. Currently, 52 of Vietnam’s 63 provinces have not reached the required target of reaching 90% of children under the age of year receiving all recommended routine vaccines.
To address the decline in routine immunization, Vietnam planned and implemented catch-up immunization in areas with low coverage. For example, the country conducted Supplemental Immunization Activities (SIAs) on MR and bOPV for children aged 1-5 years. Thus, 144,448 children received one dose of MR and 141,866 received additional doses of bOPV this year./.