Saturday was a day when the World Health Organization called for more efforts to restore routine immunization rates to pre-Covid time.
“Commendably, 3 billion doses have been administered to COVID-19 vaccines in the region since January 2021, when first dose was administered in South-East Asia Region.
“We must continue to expand COVID-19 vaccination coverage. We must also do our best to ensure that no child is denied vital vaccines through routine immunizations,” stated Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director. WHO South-East Asia.
According to a statement, many countries have proven that routine immunization can still be done or scaled up with COVID-19 vaccine.
“This speaks to a highly committed health work force that has to manage both substantial challenges.”
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh maintained high vaccination rates of over 95% DTP3 coverage.
It said that while Bhutan saw a slight drop in 2020, it still exceeded its pre-pandemic coverage (97 percent) to achieve record 98.3% DTP3 coverage by 2021.
DTP3 is the third dose of vaccines against diphtheria (tetanus, pertussis and tetanus), which it stated, can be used globally as a proxy indicator of immunization coverage.
In Nepal, routine immunization coverage for DTP3 was significantly increased from 84 percent in 2020 to 91 percent in 2021. These six countries also had high COVID-19 vaccination coverage. WHOStatement.
It said that the decline in routine immunization coverage in India and Timor-Leste in 2020 seems to have stabilised in 2021, indicating program recovery.
The statement stated that India administered close to 2 Billion doses of COVID-19 in 2021 and other vaccines for children in India. This is five times the number of vaccines India had in 2020.
All South-East Asia Region countries focused on routine immunization, while prioritizing vital services during the pandemic. Consolidated efforts continue to be made for increased vaccination coverage. The focus is on identifying and vaccinating “missed children”, the world health organization stated.
During the pandemic, efforts for rubella and measles elimination continued. In Nepal, coverage for the rubella and measles second dose vaccines increased by a significant amount from 76% in 2019 up to 87 percent in 2021. According to the statement, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Maldives maintained their respective coverage rates through the pandemic.
To revive routine immunization coverage after the COVID-19 pandemic. WHOIt stated that the South-East Asia Regional Working Group on Immunization convened in March 2015, focusing on program intensification.
The statement stated that the emphasis was on strengthening catch-up programs, tracking under-vaccinated children and unvaccinated kids, and combining COVID-19 vaccine with routine immunization, and training health workers to address community concerns.
It added that there are still concerns and challenges.
“WHO is fully aware of the efforts made and is helping Member States to improve routine immunization coverage. “We hope to see a rapid scaling up of DTP3 coverage at the pre-pandemic level, 91% in 2019, from 82% 2021, and second dose rubella vaccine coverage at beyond 83% in 2019, from 78% in 2021.” The Regional Director stated.
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