Extracts from a news release from WHO Africa Regional Office. Read online
Brazzaville – Around 7.7 million African children missed out on vital first doses of Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis, Measles and Polio vaccines in 2020. The nearly 10% rise in missed vaccinations on the previous year in Africa was driven by disruptions to health services by the COVID-19 pandemic, new data by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and World health Organization (WHO) show.
Three African countries are among the top 10 countries globally to record the greatest number of unvaccinated children in 2020 for the first dose of Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis (DTP -1) and Measles: Ethiopia, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Overall, Africa still accounts for the highest percentage of ‘zero dose’ children (those who have not received DTP -1) in the world.
Despite impressive efforts to scale up supplemental immunization campaigns while grappling with the myriad demands of the pandemic, the 7.7 million children in Africa that missed DTP-1 vaccines make up 45% of the global figure…
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, expressed concern that while countries were focusing on COVID-19 vaccines, children were being put at risk.
“We have gone backwards on other vaccinations, leaving children at risk from devastating but preventable diseases like measles, polio or meningitis,” he said, warning that multiple disease outbreaks could be catastrophic for communities and health systems already under pressure from COVID-19…