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6.2 million Nigerian children unvaccinated in 2yrs – WHO

Nigeria recorded an estimated 6.2 million zero-dose children between  2019  and 2021, the World Health Organisation, WHO, has said. WHO Country Representative to Nigeria, Walter…

Nigeria recorded an estimated 6.2 million zero-dose children between  2019  and 2021, the World Health Organisation, WHO, has said.

WHO Country Representative to Nigeria, Walter Kazadi Mulombo, said this in Abuja yesterday while briefing newsmen as part of activities to mark this year’s.

African Vaccination Week celebration.

He said this was a consequence of the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

He said,  “In the Africa Region, WHO estimates show that the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on routine immunization services has driven up the number of zero-dose and under-immunized children, rising by 16% between 2019 and 2021 and pushing the cumulative total (2019-2021) to around 33 million, which represents nearly half the global estimate.”

He said an estimated 33 million children would need to be vaccinated in Africa between 2023 and 2025 to put the continent back on track to achieve the 2030 global immunization goals including reducing morbidity and mortality from vaccine-preventable diseases.

Mulombo said reaching these children would require renewed and intensified efforts by government and partners.

He explained that   to galvanize the commitments required, WHO conducted a high-level event during the African Union Summit in February 2023, where African heads of state endorsed a declaration aimed at revamping and scaling up routine immunization across the continent and implementing urgent measures to address persistent bottlenecks in vaccine and health care delivery systems.

He said the 83% reduction in circulating Variant Polio Virus type 2 in the country is a significant feat in sustaining certification for the eradication Wild Polio Virus in Nigeria.

He said government’s pro-activeness, integration of routine immunization during COVID-19 vaccination, measles and yellow fever supplementary immunization activities were key for the reduction in the high burden of zero dose children in Nigeria and aligned the theme for the 2023 AVW celebration.

He described the plan to introduce malaria vaccine in routine immunization and Human Papillomavirus Vaccine (HPV) in 2023 and 2024 as commendable as it aligned with establishing a life-course platform for immunization for optimum dividend from vaccination.

He said WHO was supporting Nigeria’s full participation in the Regional Working Group for Catch-up to ensure effective planning and resource mobilization for the 20 countries with high burden of zero dose children in the region.

 

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