WHO and UNICEF data shows COVID-19 pandemic has led to millions of children not receiving basic vaccines

27 July 2021

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According to official data published by the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF, 23 million children did not receive basic vaccines through routine immunisation services in 2020, 3.7 million more than in 2019. This latest set of official worldwide childhood immunisation figures, the first to reflect global service disruptions due to COVID-19, show the majority of countries last year experienced drops in childhood vaccination rates.

The WHO and UNICEF data highlights disruptions to immunisation services were widespread in 2020, with the WHO Southeast Asian and Eastern Mediterranean regions most affected.  As access to health services and immunisation outreach were curtailed, the number of children not receiving their first vaccinations increased in all regions. When compared with 2019, 3.5 million more children missed their first dose of diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis vaccine (DTP-1), while three million more children did not receive their first measles dose.

Source: WHO, 15 July 2021