Childhood immunization begins recovery after COVID-19 backslide
The fight against preventable diseases took a hit due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but recent data from the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF provide reason for optimism. In 2022, global immunization services managed to reach 4 million more children than in 2021, demonstrating a promising recovery trend.
However, the battle is far from over. The data indicates that 20.5 million children missed out on vital vaccines, a reduction from 24.4 million in 2021, but still greater than the 18.4 million in 2019, illustrating the long road ahead to regain pre-pandemic coverage levels.
Despite these challenges, the determination to improve immunization coverage remains strong. The focus now is on the ‘zero-dose’ children, with numbers decreasing from 18.1 million in 2021 to 14.3 million in 2022, but still exceeding the 12.9 million in 2019.
A stark difference in recovery rates has emerged between wealthier countries like India and Indonesia and low-income nations struggling with immunization, especially measles vaccination. To tackle these disparities, major health organizations have initiated ‘The Big Catch-Up’, an advocacy campaign to enhance global immunization coverage and strengthen healthcare systems.