Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, WHO Regional Director for Southeast Asia, said every child deserves to be protected from life-threatening diseases with routine immunization.
She said the momentum created with impressive efforts and recoveries from immunization services must continue to benefit every child for a healthy and productive life.
Read also: Child vaccination rates begin to recover after pandemic: United Nations
The WHO and UNICEF estimates of national immunization coverage for 2022, released on Tuesday (18 July), show that in the Southeast Asian region the coverage rate for the DTP3 vaccine, and for the third dose of diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus vaccines, reached 91% of the total Vaccinations. pre-pandemic level, a sharp increase from the 82 percent recorded in 2021. The region also showed a 6 percent improvement in measles vaccine coverage in 2022 compared to 2021, going from 86 percent to 92 percent.
The number of children who did not receive even the first dose of diphtheria-pertussis vaccine has halved from 4.6 million in 2021 to 2.3 million in 2022.
Similarly, the number of partially vaccinated children — who received at least one dose of diphtheria-pertussis vaccine but not the full primary series of three doses — fell from 1.3 million in 2021 to 6.50,000 in 2022.
Singh said Southeast Asia has the best immunization recoveries among all WHO regions which can mainly be attributed to the efforts made by India and Indonesia.
Read also: A child or young person died every 4.4 seconds in 2021 due to lack of basic healthcare: UN report
It said India had recorded 93 per cent DVT coverage in 2022, surpassing the pre-pandemic high of 91 per cent in 2019 and a rapid increase from the 85 per cent recorded in 2021. The South East Regional Director said Asia at WHO: “As we draw lessons from the pandemic to strengthen capacities to respond to future health emergencies, we must learn from countries that have maintained immunization rates even during the pandemic response.”
While levels of universal immunization coverage appear to be good and progress is encouraging, there are still differences in coverage at sub-national levels in countries, particularly in densely populated countries. Inequalities in immunization coverage that lead to pockets of unvaccinated children piling up risk outbreaks of measles, diphtheria and other vaccine-preventable diseases. Mr Singh said these gaps must be filled.
She added that countries and partner agencies must continue to ramp up efforts to identify unvaccinated children, strengthen the capacities of the health workforce, better understand and deal with populations at risk, and roll out customized strategies to reach every child.
Read also:The Kerala government allocates an additional Rs 200 crore for its healthcare program ‘Karunya Arogya Suraksha Padhati’
(This story has not been edited by the NDTV staff and is republished from a syndicated feed.)
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