UNICEF released it flagship report “The State of World’s Children 2023” on a theme “For Every Child, Vaccination”. According to UNICEF, world is facing a red alert for children’s health: During the COVID -19 pandemic, vaccination coverage dropped dramatically, leaving millions of children unprotected against some of the most serious childhood diseases. In addition, many millions of children from some of the world’s most marginalised communities have not received life-saving vaccinations for a long time. There is an urgent need to catch up on missed immunisations and avoid further backsliding. And greater efforts are needed to reach children who have been left behind in the past. “The State of the World’s Children 2023: For every child, vaccination” explores the reasons behind this red alert and the steps we as a global community must take to make sure that no child is left behind.
The Report analyses the steps needed to ensure that all the world’s children are protected against vaccine-preventable diseases. As the COVID -19 pandemic has hampered progress on child vaccination at the global level, the report focuses on poverty, marginalisation and gender and their influence on whether children are vaccinated. Drawing on lessons learned during the pandemic and the extensive experience of UNICEF in immunising children, the report explores how primary health care can be strengthened to better support immunisation services. The report also addresses concerns about trust in vaccines and assesses various innovations in vaccine development, delivery and financing.
The pandemic COVID -19 was a disaster for child immunisation. This edition of The State of the World’s Children reports that the world has lost more than a decade of progress in just three years.
According to report, South Asia has one of the highest vaccination coverage rates in the world. But the pandemic has set immunisation back. Between 2019 and 2021, the coverage for diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DTP) and measles vaccines dropped, leading to an increase in the prevalence of zero-dose and under-vaccinated children in the region.
‘Zero-dose’ and ‘undervaccinated’ are key concepts in explaining immunization coverage, in aligning global efforts to improve vaccine coverage, and for monitoring success. Zero-dose refers to children who have not received any vaccinations. Most live in communities that experience multiple deprivations. Under-vaccinated refers to children who have received some, but not all, of their recommended schedule of vaccinations.
In South Asia, the number of children missing essential vaccines is significant: a total of 5 million zero-dose and undervaccinated children. In Pakistan, number of Number of zero-dose children reported in 2021 were 610,564 and the number of undervaccinated children in 2021 were 427,395.
An analysis for The State of the World’s Children 2023 shows some of the socio-economic determinants associated with immunisation. The figures show the link between children not being immunised and inequity. Wealth deciles and place of residence play an important role in whether or not a child is vaccinated, as does the mother’s level of education.
The report highlights that the failure of health systems to provide every child with vaccines is due to domestic underinvestment in primary health care, inadequate human resources in health and leadership failures at different levels of government and in different sectors.
- The State of the World’s Children 2023 (Full Report)
- Executive Summary of The State of the World’s Children 2023
- South Asia Regional Brief of The State of the World’s Children 2023
Acknowledgement/ Credit: UNICEF, April 2023