Global Efforts Show Promising Signs in Restoring Immunization Services
Global immunization services have shown promising signs of recovery following the historic setback caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. According to recent data from the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF, in 2022, approximately 4 million more children received vaccines compared to the previous year. Efforts to address the decline in immunization services have led to this improvement, offering hope for children’s health around the world.
Progress Amidst Inequities and Challenges
Despite the positive trend, challenges remain, especially in low-income countries where immunization coverage still falls short of pre-pandemic levels. In 2022, 20.5 million children missed out on one or more vaccines, an improvement from 24.4 million in 2021, but higher than the 18.4 million in 2019. The need for ongoing catch-up, recovery, and system strengthening efforts is evident to protect children from disease outbreaks.
Uneven Recovery Across Countries
The recovery in global immunization services has not been uniform across all countries. While some well-resourced countries with large infant populations, such as India and Indonesia, have shown progress, low-income countries, especially for measles vaccination, are lagging behind. Of the 73 countries that experienced substantial declines in coverage during the pandemic, only 15 have fully recovered to pre-pandemic levels.
Health authorities and organizations are calling for accelerated efforts to reach every child with necessary vaccines. Countries must focus on catching up children who missed their vaccinations, strengthening routine immunization services, and addressing systemic challenges to achieve equitable coverage and protect the most vulnerable children.