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Apr 20

UNICEF issues red alert on childhood jabs, blaming anti-vax myths and misinformation


The United Nations has issued a global 'red alert' on vaccination, saying millions of children are missing out on potentially life saving jabs due to disruption caused during the pandemic and subsequent scepticism, much of it fuelled by Covid misinformation campaigns.

UNICEF’s State of the World’s Children report warns urgent action is needed.

“In the past three years, more than a decade of hard-earned gains in routine childhood immunisation have been eroded,” said Catherine Russell, UNICEF executive director.

“Confidence in vaccines seems to be waning in many countries. While vaccine confidence is far from being the most important determinant of vaccine demand in most communities, the apparent rise in hesitancy cannot be ignored.”

The report says that from 2010 to 2021 the number of children in the world who have received no vaccinations against childhood diseases has increased from 15.4 million to 18.2 million, which means 1 in 5 children are unvaccinated, leaving them with no protection against measles and other deadly infections.

UNICEF estimates vaccines save 4.4 million lives every year.

The report indicates that between 2019 and 2021 67 million children have received no or only some vaccines.

This has caused, for example, a doubling of measles cases from 2021 to 2022 and a 16% annual worsening in polio cases, which could have been prevented with vaccines.

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