Greater efforts required to get routine immunization again to pre-Covid instances: WHO

The World Health Organization on Saturday known as for better efforts within the South-East Asia Region to revive routine immunization charges to pre-Covid instances, stressing that regardless of concerted efforts by nations, challenges and gaps persist.

“Commendably the area has administered 3 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines thus far, since January 2021 when the primary dose of vaccine was administered within the South-East Asia Region.

“As we focus on further scaling up COVID-19 vaccination coverage, we must also do all we can to ensure no child is deprived of life-saving vaccines offered under routine immunization services,” mentioned Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director WHO South- East Asia.

Many counties have demonstrated that routine immunization could be maintained or scaled up together with COVID-19 vaccination, she mentioned on an announcement.

“This speaks for a very committed health work force which has to manage both considerable challenges.” Bangladesh, Maldives, Sri Lanka and Thailand maintained excessive vaccination charges over 95 per cent DTP3 protection all through the COVID-19 pandemic. Bhutan witnessed a slight decline in 2020 however surpassed its pre-pandemic protection of 97 per cent to report 98 per cent DTP3 protection in 2021, it mentioned.

Globally, DTP3 (third dose of vaccines for diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis) in one-year previous youngsters, is a proxy indicator for immunization protection, it mentioned.

Nepal considerably revived routine immunization protection for DTP3 from 84 per cent in 2020 to 91 per cent in 2021. These six nations have additionally achieved excessive COVID-19 vaccination protection, the WHO assertion mentioned.
Routine immunization protection declines witnessed in 2020 in India and Timor-Leste appear to have stabilized in 2021 indicating program recoveries as properly, it mentioned.

In 2021, India supplied near 2 billion doses of COVID-19 and different childhood vaccines taken collectively, over 5 instances extra vaccines administered within the nation throughout the yr than in 2020, the assertion mentioned.
All nations within the South-East Asia Region centered on routine immunization whereas prioritizing important providers throughout the pandemic and concerted efforts proceed to be made to scale-up vaccination protection, with a give attention to figuring out and vaccinating ‘missed youngsters’, the world well being physique mentioned.

Efforts for measles and rubella elimination, a flagship precedence within the Region, continued throughout the pandemic. Nepal considerably elevated the protection for second dose of measles and rubella vaccine from 76 per cent in 2019 to 87 per cent in 2021. Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, and Sri Lanka maintained their respective protection charges all through the pandemic, the assertion mentioned.

To revitalize routine immunization protection following the COVID-19 pandemic, WHO convened a South-East Asia Regional Working Group on Immunization in March this yr specializing in program intensification, it mentioned.
Strengthening catch-up campaigns, monitoring unvaccinated and below vaccinated youngsters, combining COVID-19 vaccination with routine immunization, coaching of well being staff and addressing considerations of communities, have been burdened, the assertion mentioned.

However, considerations and challenges stay, it added. “WHO is cognizant of the efforts and is supporting Member States to improve routine immunization coverage. With stepped up efforts in recent months, we hope to see a speedy scale-up of DTP3 coverage to the pre-pandemic level of 91 per cent in 2019 from 82 per cent in 2021 and second dose measles and rubella vaccine coverage to beyond 83 per cent cent in 2019 from 78 per cent in 2021,” the Regional Director mentioned.

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