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25 million children missed out on lifesaving vaccines in 2021, WHO and UNICEF data shows

Vaccine coverage continued to decline worldwide in 2021, with 25 million children missing out on lifesaving vaccines, according to data published by the World Health Organization and UNICEF.

"The largest sustained decline in childhood vaccinations in approximately 30 years has been recorded," the organisations have said.

Between 2019 and 2021, there was a 5-point drop in the percentage of children who got three doses of DTP3, the vaccine against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis. This took the coverage down to 81%.

DTP3 coverage is used as a marker for broader immunization coverage, WHO and UNICEF said.

"As a result, 25 million children missed out on one or more doses of DTP through routine immunization services in 2021 alone. This is 2 million more than those who missed out in 2020 and 6 million more than in 2019, highlighting the growing number of children at risk from devastating but preventable diseases," they said. Eighteen million of these children didn't get a single dose of the vaccine, the majority of whom lived in low- and middle-income countries.

Other decreases were seen in HPV, with which over a quarter of the coverage achieved in 2019 was lost, and measles, with which first-dose coverage dropped to 81% in 2021. WHO notes that this is the lowest level since 2008 and means 24.7 million children missed their first dose in 2021.

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Source: CNN, 14 July 2022



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