80 million children haven’t received planned vaccinations because of the pandemicTop Stories

May 23, 2020 12:12
80 million children haven’t received planned vaccinations because of the pandemic

(Image source from: unicef.org)

The coronavirus pandemic has posed a very high threat for over 80 million children under the age of 1 who have not yet received their planned vaccines for measles, polio and cholera. The same was reported based on the new analysis from World Health Organisation (WHO) and its partners.

The report that was issued on Friday clearly reported that over half of the 129 countries which offers the immunisation data showed moderate, severe or even total suspensions of the vaccination because of the pandemic during the months of March and April.

"Disruption to immunization programs from the COVID-19 pandemic threatens to unwind decades of progress against vaccine-preventable diseases like measles,'' said WHO Director-General.

Further UNICEF reports suggest that the significant delay in the administration of the planned vaccinations was because of the lockdown measures and the sudden reduction in the flight movement across the countries.

Around 40 of 54 African nations have closed their borders, only allowing the passage of cargo and emergency transport only at this point.

Out of the 46 campaigns that are conducted across the world for administrating the polio vaccine was suspended in 38 countries, majority of which is in Africa. The measles vaccination campaigns have been suspended in over 27 countries.

The experts and pediatricians have reported that the children need to be administered with planned and regular vaccinations till the age of 2.

In April, WHO and its partners had to put a halt for the time being on the polio vaccination and immunisation campaigns, also recognising that not doing to so imposes the risks of the resurgence of the infectious disease.

In order to wipe out the risks of polio, 90% of the children need to be immunised, which is typically done in mass campaigns which involve millions of health care workers. This could not be done as it breaks the practice of social distancing and at the same time, it rises the risks of the spread of the virus even further.

Owing to the temporary halt, dozens of reports of polio have been reported in Africa this year. The health officials, who hoped to completely eradicate polio completely by 2000. The same hasn’t unfortunately happened yet.

"We cannot let our fight against one disease come at the expense of long-term progress in our fight against other diseases,'' said Henrietta Fore, UNICEF's executive director.

Fore further clarified that the medical field has viable vaccines for some of the diseases like polio, measles and cholera. While the current situations have temporarily halted the immunisation process, things will restart pretty soon once things start getting back to normal again.

WHO has further reported that they are soon going to issue statement regarding how the countries can resume the administration of the vaccines again safely amidst the Covid-19 outbreak.

By Somapika Dutta

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vaccinations  pandemic  covid-19