WHO / CHILDREN VACCINATION BACKSLIDING

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14-Jul-2021 00:03:30
The head of WHO’s Essential Programme on Immunization, Dr Ann Lindstrand, said the COVID-19 pandemic has “set us back a decade when it comes to the progress reached by childhood immunization.” WHO

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STORY: WHO / CHILDREN VACCINATION BACKSLIDING
TRT: 3:30
SOURCE: WHO
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 13 JULY 2021, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND / FILE

SHOTLIST:

FILE – SEPTEMBER 2019, KWILU PROVINCE, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO

1. Wide shot, Parents with children gathered at vaccination site
2. Close up, mother carrying child at vaccination site
3. Wide shots, children being registered for vaccination
4. Close up, healthcare worker preparing syringe
5. Med shot, child being vaccinated

13 JULY 2021, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

6. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Ann Lindstrand, Unit Head, Essential Programme on Immunization, World Health Organization (WHO):
"So, the COVID-19 pandemic has set us back a decade when it comes to the progress reached by childhood immunization. The coverage rate of diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis has decreased by three per cent, from 86 to 83 per cent. This means that we are missing out on lifesaving immunization for 23 million kids, and 17 million of those have not even been reached by one single vaccine."

FILE – 2018, CARTEGNA, COLOMBIA

7. Med shot, mother holding child while being vaccinated
8. Med shot, healthcare worker registering child to be vaccinated

13 JULY 2021, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

9. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Ann Lindstrand, Unit Head, Essential Programme on Immunization, World Health Organization (WHO):
"So, vaccines are one of the most powerful tools we have in public health, and with the backsliding we see today, we have an imminent risk of outbreaks happening, measles outbreaks, polio outbreaks. And it's really important now to catch up, recover, try to reach those children being lost during the pandemic year. Otherwise, we'll trade just one crisis for another. And it's the children who are paying the silent price of this pandemic."

FILE – APRIL 2014, SAO PAULO, BRAZIL

10. Close up, HPV vaccination poster
11. Wide shots, health workers speaking to children in classroom about HPV vaccine

13 JULY 2021, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

12. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Ann Lindstrand, Unit Head, Essential Programme on Immunization, World Health Organization (WHO):
"The disruption in immunization services have been vast across actually most countries during the pandemic year. The reasons are many-fold. There are lockdowns, there were difficulties in transports, there were fear and distrust when it came to risk of transmission in health care centres. And also, health care workers were diverted. They were put in places where they were needed in the pandemic response instead. All of this together risked the upholding of the routine immunization services."

FILE – APRIL 2014, SAO PAULO, BRAZIL

13. Med shot, healthcare worker administering vaccine

13 JULY 2021, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

14. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Ann Lindstrand, Unit Head, Essential Programme on Immunization, World Health Organization (WHO):
"What is needed now is for all countries to look at their immunization services, to restore the immunization, to catch up those children that were lost; those that did not or were not reached by immunization during this pandemic year. And catch them up and give them and offer them the vaccines that are needed. We need to communicate with communities when it comes to coming back to the immunization services, understanding the full value of these vaccines. Unless we act now, we are going to have many outbreaks. We're going to have to deal with the consequences of not having reached these children with lifesaving immunization. We'll have many children die and being sick from measles, from polio and from other diseases. So, we need to act right now, not just to restore immunization programmes to be able to deliver the COVID-19 vaccines, but also for the lifesaving childhood immunizations."

FILE – APRIL 2014, SAO PAULO, BRAZIL

15. Med shot, child receiving vaccine
16. Med shot, healthcare worker speaking to child about vaccine

STORYLINE:

The head of WHO’s Essential Programme on Immunization, Dr Ann Lindstrand, said the COVID-19 pandemic has “set us back a decade when it comes to the progress reached by childhood immunization.”

According to official data published today by WHO and UNICEF, 23 million children missed out on basic vaccines through routine immunization services in 2020 - 3.7 million more than in 2019.

Dr Lindstrand said vaccines are “one of the most powerful tools we have in public health, and with the backsliding we see today, we have an imminent risk of outbreaks happening, measles outbreaks, polio outbreaks.” She stressed the importance of catching up and recovering “to try to reach those children being lost during the pandemic year, otherwise we'll trade just one crisis for another.” She stressed that children are “paying the silent price of this pandemic."

The latest data set of comprehensive worldwide childhood immunization figures, the first official figures to reflect global service disruptions due to COVID-19, show a majority of countries last year experienced drops in childhood vaccination rates.

Dr Lindstrand said, "The disruption in immunization services have been vast across actually most countries during the pandemic year. The reasons are many-fold. There are lockdowns, there were difficulties in transports, there were fear and distrust when it came to risk of transmission in health care centres. And also, health care workers were diverted. They were put in places where they were needed in the pandemic response instead. All of this together risked the upholding of the routine immunization services."

Even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, global childhood vaccination rates against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, measles and polio had stalled for several years at around 86 per cent. This rate is well below the 95 per cent recommended by WHO to protect against measles – often the first disease to resurge when children are not reached with vaccines - and insufficient to stop other vaccine-preventable diseases.

Dr Lindstrand said, “What is needed now is for all countries to look at their immunization services, to restore the immunization, to catch up those children that were lost those that did not or were not reached by immunization during this pandemic year. And catch them up and give them and offer them the vaccines that are needed. We need to communicate with communities when it comes to coming back to the immunization services, understanding the full value of these vaccines. Unless we act now, we are going to have many outbreaks. We're going to have to deal with the consequences of not having reached these children with lifesaving immunization. We'll have many children die and being sick from measles, from polio and from other diseases. So, we need to act right now, not just to restore immunization programmes to be able to deliver the COVID-19 vaccines, but also for the lifesaving childhood immunizations."
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