Vaccination coverage for four diseases is stagnant since 2010; marginalised nations are the most vulnerable
A WHO-Unicef study says global penetration of vaccination against four diseases—diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (DTP) and measles—has remained stagnant at 86% since 2010. Due to this stagnation, around 19.4 million children have missed out on DTP3 and measles vaccination in 2018. Claiming that if the reach of vaccinations does not increase, preventing the resurgence of these diseases will be tough, the study reports that the vaccination rate should reach 95% globally and in individual countries to prevent large-scale outbreaks.
The reasons behind the stagnation, the study says, are conflict, inequality and complacency. Children from the poorest and the most conflict-ridden areas are the worst hit. The study notes that out of the 19.4 million children classified as under- or non-vaccinated, 11.7 million come from just 10 countries—most notably, Nigeria (3 million), India (2.6 million) and Pakistan (1.4 million). This is despite raging vaccine denialism in the West.
Some nations flagged in the study also suffer from other major issues like rampant food insecurity. With increased chance of outbreaks of the four diseases, managing healthcare will prove a larger burden on the governments of the laggard nations. While these countries must realise the scale of the problem, the others must also know that their fates are tied in a globalised world, where there is conflict-related mass migration, including illegal immigration. This study is also critical of the ‘anti-vax’ propaganda. With the propaganda gaining ground in developed nations, there is a chance of contagion to the poorer nations. The state in developed countries must intervene against vaccine denialism and assure 95% vaccination coverage.