India Witnesses Sharp Decline In Routine Vaccination For Children

by Dikhyaa Mohanty

There has been a universal decline in routine vaccination among children since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic last year. As per a joint report by World Health Organisation (WHO) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the sharpest drop took place in India with data revealing it was most pronounced in the second quarter of 2020.

Dr Om Prakash, a medical officer in the paediatric department of Darbhanga Medical College stated India is experiencing a particularly large drop, with DTP (diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus) coverage falling from 91% to 85%.

According to WHO surveillance medical officer Dr Basavraj Katarki, the reason behind this decline in regular vaccination among children was the imposition of COVID-induced lockdown, the migration of people, and the decline in healthcare facilities amid the pandemic crisis.

He further added that the other key factors were preferential treatment of COVID-positive patients and reduction in the number of auxiliary nursing midwives. WHO and UNICEF National Immunization Coverage (WUENIC) estimates of national immunization coverage has shown a major decrease in childhood vaccination


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