GENEVA (AP) — About 25 million children worldwide have missed out on routine immunizations against diseases like diptheria, tetanus and pertussis. That's largely because the coronavirus pandemic disrupted regular health services or triggered misinformation about vaccines, according to a report published Friday by the World Health Organization and UNICEF.
“This is a red alert for child health. We are witnessing the largest sustained drop in childhood immunization in a generation. The consequences will be measured in lives,” said Catherine Russell, UNICEF executive director.
The figures continue a downward trend in childhood immunizations that began in 2019.
According to the report, vaccine coverage dropped the most in low-income and middle-income countries. However, no area was spared. Vaccine coverage drooped in every region, the report says.
The World Health Organization wants countries to know they can fight the pandemic and still make sure routine vaccinations are administered.
“Planning and tackling COVID-19 should also go hand-in-hand with vaccinating for killer diseases like measles, pneumonia and diarrhea,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “It’s not a question of either/or, it’s possible to do both”.