Friday, June 5, 2020
News

Over 80 mn children at risk as Covid-19 disrupts routine vaccination

   SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend    Print this Page   COMMENT

New Delhi | Saturday, 2020 5:15:06 AM IST
Covid-19 has disrupted life-saving immunisation services around the world, which is likely to affect approximately 80 million children under the age of one.

The hindrance is putting millions of children, both in rich and poor countries alike, at risk of diseases like diphtheria, measles, and polio. The stark warning came forth in the data collected by the World Health Organisation, UNICEF, Gavi and the Sabin Vaccine Institute.

"Disruption to immunisation programmes from the Covid-19 pandemic threatens to unwind decades of progress against vaccine-preventable diseases like measles, said WHO Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

The reasons for disrupted services vary. Some parents are reluctant to leave home because of restrictions on movement, lack of information or because they fear infection with the ovid-19 virus.

Other than that, many health workers are also unavailable because of restrictions on travel, or redeployment to Covid response duties, as well as a lack of protective equipment.

Many countries have temporarily and justifiably suspended preventive mass vaccination campaigns against diseases like cholera, measles, meningitis, polio, tetanus, typhoid and yellow fever, due to risk of transmission and the need to maintain physical distancing during the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Measles and polio vaccination campaigns, in particular, have been badly hit, with measles campaigns suspended in 27 countries and polio campaigns put on hold in 38 countries.

At least 24 million people in 21 Gavi-supported lower-income countries are at risk of missing out on vaccines against polio, measles, typhoid, yellow fever, cholera, rotavirus, HPV, meningitis and rubella due to postponed campaigns and introductions of new vaccines.

Gavi CEO Dr. Seth Berkley said: "Due to Covid-19 this immense progress is now under threat, risking the resurgence of diseases like measles and polio. Not only will maintaining immunisation programmes prevent more outbreaks, it will also ensure we have the infrastructure we need to roll out an eventual Covid-19 vaccine on a global scale."

Transport delays of vaccines are exacerbating the situation. UNICEF has reported a substantial delay in planned vaccine deliveries due to the lockdown measures and the ensuing decline in commercial flights and limited availability of charters.

To help mitigate this, UNICEF is appealing to governments, the private sector, the airline industry, and others, to free up freight space at an affordable cost for these life-saving vaccines.

"We cannot let our fight against one disease come at the expense of long-term progress in our fight against other diseases," said Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director.

Fore further said that while circumstances may require us to temporarily pause some immunisation efforts, immunisations must restart as soon as possible, or we risk exchanging one deadly outbreak for another.

Despite the challenges, several countries are making special efforts to continue immunization. Uganda is ensuring that immunisation services continue along with other essential health services, even funding transportation to ensure outreach activities.

In Laos, despite a national lockdown imposed in March, routine immunisation in fixed sites continued with physical distancing measures in place.

--IANS aka/vd

( 509 Words)

2020-05-22-23:18:08 (IANS)

 
  LATEST COMMENTS ()
POST YOUR COMMENT
Comments Not Available
 
POST YOUR COMMENT
 
 
TRENDING TOPICS
 
 
CITY NEWS
MORE CITIES
 
 
 
MORE HEALTH NEWS
COVID: Delhi hospitals asked to provide ...
COVID-19 pandemic still threatening Cana...
Stagger office timings, allow only asymp...
Elderly man who died of Covid was brough...
Domestic returnees, contacts raise K'tak...
As Covid cases rise, NE govts warn of ac...
More...
 
INDIA WORLD ASIA
Ahead of India's election for UNSC non-p...
14 more COVID-19 cases in Nagaland...
Baby born onboard Shramik Special train...
World Environment Day: Moradabad doctor ...
Around 20 Delhi Metro employees test pos...
World Environment Day: Javadekar launche...
More...    
 
 Top Stories
Rajasthan feels Gujarat tremors as ... 
Covid-19 positive woman enters Goa ... 
IMA objects to opening of malls, pl... 
Army soldier killed in action in Pa... 
It's a bit like at amateur level: M... 
No Entry: For MP PAs in Parliament... 
COVID-19: 100 pc testing of people ... 
Amid LAC stand-off, India, China a...