New estimates of COVID-19’s toll on childhood vaccinations find that nearly 23 million children didn’t get routine vaccinations last year, Reuters reports.
- The missed vaccinations, an increase of 3.7 million over 2019’s numbers, led to measles and polio outbreaks, WHO and UNICEF report.
- Compared with 2019, 3.5 million more children didn’t get their first dose diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis vaccine in 2020; and 3 million additional children missed their first measles dose.
- 66 countries paused at least 1 vaccination campaign against preventable diseases, Reuters notes.
- India, Nigeria, and 8 other countries made up most of the 22.7 million children left without diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis vaccinations (or who were under-vaccinated).
Most alarming: “Zero dose” children—those who haven’t received any vaccination—reached 17.1 million last year, up from 13.6 million in 2019.
The Quote: “The COVID-19 pandemic has led to major backsliding on childhood vaccination, taking us back more than a decade,” said Kate O’Brien, WHO immunizations director.