UNICEF: 67 million children missed routine vaccinations during pandemic

UNICEF: 67 million children missed routine vaccinations during pandemic

BOSTON - In its annual report on the state of global children's health, UNICEF found the secondhand impacts of the pandemic were having a catastrophic effect on vaccination rates for children. Particularly those born in the last three years.

These vaccinations are not necessarily for COVID, but routine vaccinations for diseases like polio, measles, Hepatitis B among others.

UNICEF found that 67 million children around the world missed some routine vaccinations between 2019-2021. That same report found 48 million of those children did not receive a single shot.

The causes of the decline, as cited in the report, come down to families missing routine appointments in the height of the pandemic and decreased health advocacy in developing nations during that same period.

At the same time, public trust in vaccines has declined globally including here in the US where it has fallen by 15%. All of it leading to what Lily Caprani of UNICEF called, "The largest sustained decline in the number of children reached with their basic childhood immunizations."

"It's a huge deal," said Dr. Rick Malley with Boston Children's Hospital. "Other than clean water supply, there has been no greater medical advance than vaccines in general to save lives and makes lives better. It is one of the greatest achievements of humankind."

For families who are behind on vaccinating their kids, Malley said, "It's never too late. We always encourage parents to have a very thoughtful conversation with their doctor on how to get their kids caught up on vaccinations."  

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