in Latin America, a quarter of children are no longer vaccinated at all!

In just five years, vaccination coverage for diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough has increased from 90% in 2015 to 76% in 2020‘, or 2.5 million extra children who are under-vaccinated, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said in a statement.

The decline in vaccination rates in the region is alarming‘ was transferred Jean Gough, the director of Unicef’s regional office, which is headquartered in Panama.Millions of children and young people are at risk of serious complications, including death, if this could be avoided‘ she said, quoted in the press release.

According to Unicef, Haiti and Suriname have the lowest coverage rates in the region, with only half of children vaccinated against diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough, followed by Venezuela (60%), Bolivia (68%) and Ecuador (70%).

Unicef ​​​​recalls the reality of epidemiological outbreaks such as that of diphtheria, which have increased from 5 cases in 2013 across the region to almost 900 cases in 2018. Measles, which is more contagious, reached 23,000 people in 2019, up from 500 in 2013.

There are several reasons for this decline in vaccination numbers

There are several reasons for this declineRalph Midy, regional maternal and newborn health specialist for UNICEF in Latin America and the Caribbean, told AFP.

The framework conditions in the region have changed in the last five years. Governments have turned their attention to other emerging public health issues such as: B. the Zika virus, Chikungunya and more recently Covid-19“, he said.

The existence of hard-to-reach migrant populations, as well as access to people living in remote areas, also hamper vaccination campaigns, he said.

If the fall in vaccination rates precedes the arrival of the pandemic, Unicef ​​​​believes that the situation will be “the closure or irregular admissions in many primary health centers (…) and the fear of contracting Covid-19 there“.

Unicef ​​calls on Latin American and Caribbean governments to urgently restore and strengthen basic immunization programs, develop campaigns to increase confidence in vaccines and implement plans to reach the poorest populations.

With AFP

Leave a Comment