ISLAMABAD : The World Health Organisation and UNICEF warned on Wednesday that there was a decrease in the number of children worldwide getting life-saving vaccinations due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The first four months of 2020 saw a “substantial drop” in the completion of the three-dose jab that protects against diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough — the first decline in 28 years.
“Vaccines are one of the most powerful tools in the history of public health, and more children are now being immunised than every before,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
But he said the pandemic had put those gains at risk.
“The avoidable suffering and death caused by children missing out on routine immunisations could be far greater than COVID-19 itself,” he said in a statement.
During the pandemic crisis, at least 30 measles vaccination campaigns have been cancelled or are at risk, the two UN agencies said in a joint statement.
As of this May, the pandemic had disrupted immunisation programmes in three-quarters of more than 80 nations responding to a UN survey conducted with the US Centres for Disease Control.