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Greater efforts wanted to get routine immunisation again to pre-COVID occasions: World Health Organization

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The World Health Organization burdened that regardless of concerted efforts by international locations, challenges and gaps persist.

The World Health Organization burdened that regardless of concerted efforts by international locations, challenges and gaps persist.

The World Health Organization (WHO) on July 16 referred to as for higher efforts within the South-East Asia Region to revive routine immunisation charges to pre-COVID occasions, stressing that regardless of concerted efforts by international locations, challenges and gaps persist.

“Commendably the region has administered three billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines to date, since January 2021 when the first dose of vaccine was administered in the South-East Asia Region.

“As we give attention to additional scaling up COVID-19 vaccination protection, we should additionally do all we are able to to make sure no baby is disadvantaged of life-saving vaccines supplied underneath routine immunisation companies,” said Dr. Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director WHO South-East Asia. 

Many counties have demonstrated that routine immunisation can be maintained or scaled up along with COVID-19 vaccination, she said on a statement. “This speaks for a really dedicated well being work drive which has to handle each appreciable challenges.” Bangladesh, Maldives, Sri Lanka and Thailand maintained high vaccination rates over 95% DTP3 coverage throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Bhutan witnessed a slight decline in 2020 but surpassed its pre-pandemic coverage of 97% to record 98% DTP3 coverage in 2021, it said.

“Globally, DTP3 (third dose of vaccines for diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis) in one-year old children, is a proxy indicator for immunisation coverage,” it said.

Nepal substantially revived routine immunisation coverage for DTP3 from 84% in 2020 to 91% in 2021. These six countries have also achieved high COVID-19 vaccination coverage, the WHO statement said.

Routine immunisation coverage declines witnessed in 2020 in India and Timor-Leste seem to have stabilised in 2021 indicating programme recoveries as well, it said.

“In 2021, India provided close to two billion doses of COVID-19 and other childhood vaccines taken together, over five times more vaccines administered in the country during the year than in 2020,” the statement said.

All countries in the South-East Asia Region focussed on routine immunisation while prioritizing essential services during the pandemic and concerted efforts continue to be made to scale-up vaccination coverage, with a focus on identifying and vaccinating ‘missed children’, the world health body said.

Efforts for measles and rubella elimination, a flagship priority in the Region, continued during the pandemic. Nepal substantially increased the coverage for second dose of measles and rubella vaccine from 76% in 2019 to 87% in 2021. Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, and Sri Lanka maintained their respective coverage rates throughout the pandemic, the statement said.

To revitalise routine immunisation coverage following the COVID-19 pandemic, WHO convened a South-East Asia Regional Working Group on Immunisation in March this year focusing on programme intensification, it said.

Strengthening catch-up campaigns, tracking unvaccinated and under vaccinated children, combining COVID-19 vaccination with routine immunisation, training of health workers and addressing concerns of communities, were stressed, the statement said.

However, concerns and challenges remain, it added. “WHO is cognisant of the efforts and is supporting Member States enhance routine immunisation protection. With stepped up efforts in latest months, we hope to see a speedy scale-up of DTP3 protection to the pre-pandemic degree of 91% in 2019 from 82% in 2021 and second dose measles and rubella vaccine protection to past 83% in 2019 from 78% in 2021,” the Regional Director mentioned.

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