Global Efforts Towards Immunization

Why in News?

  • In a joint press release, the World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) announced that significant progress had been made in global immunization efforts during 2022.
  • Over 4 million more children were vaccinated in 2022 compared to the year before, reflecting the collective efforts of countries and international organizations to combat vaccine-preventable diseases.

What is the Major Progress in Global Immunization Efforts?

Positive Trends in Immunization Coverage: DTP3 Vaccine Usage as a Global Marker:
  • The DTP3 vaccine, protecting against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (whooping cough), serves as the standard indicator for immunization coverage worldwide.
  • In WHO South-East Asia Region, the number of zero-dose children (those that have not received even the first dose of DPT vaccine) halved to 2.3 million in 2022 from 4.6 million in 2021.
  • The coverage rate for DPT3 in India rose to an all-time of 93% in 2022, surpassing the previous pre-pandemic best of 91% recorded in 2019.
Recovery from Pandemic-related Disruptions:
  • Of the 73 countries that experienced significant declines in immunization coverage during the pandemic, 15 have recovered to pre-pandemic levels and 24 are on the road to recovery.
HPV Vaccination Rates:
  • Human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccination rates have returned to pre-pandemic levels, but they remain below the 90% target.
Lingering Disparities and Ongoing Challenges: Uneven Recovery and System Strengthening:
  • While certain countries achieved remarkable recoveries, many smaller and poorer nations still face challenges in restoring immunization services.
  • 34 countries are stagnating or experiencing further declines in vaccination rates, underscoring the need for ongoing catch-up and system strengthening efforts.
Measles Vaccination: A Cause for Concern:
  • Measles (viral disease that typically affects children) vaccination rates have not rebounded as effectively as other vaccines.
  • This has increased the risk of measles infections for an additional 35.2 million children globally.
  • First dose measles vaccination coverage improved to 83% in 2022, but it remains lower than the 86% achieved in 2019.

What are the Major Global Initiatives Related to Immunization?

  • Immunization Agenda 2030 (IA2030): It sets an ambitious, overarching global vision and strategy for vaccines and immunization for the decade 2021–2030.
By the end of the decade, IA2030 aims to:
  • Reduce by 50% the number of children receiving zero vaccine doses
  • Achieve 500 introductions of new or under-utilized vaccines in low- and middle-income countries
  • Achieve 90% coverage for essential childhood vaccines
  • World Immunization Week: It is celebrated every year in the last week of April.
Theme 2023 – ‘The Big Catch-up’

What is the Status of Immunization in India?

  • Annually, India vaccinates more than 30 million pregnant women and 27 million children through its Universal immunization programme.
  • A child is considered fully immunized if they receive all the required vaccines as per the national immunization schedule within their first year of life.
  • However, according to UNICEF, only 65% of children in India receive full immunization during the first year of their life.
Major Immunization Programmes in India: Universal Immunization Programme (UIP):
  • The program provides free immunization against 12 vaccine-preventable diseases.
  • Nationally Against 9 Diseases: Diphtheria, Pertussis, Tetanus, Polio, Measles, Rubella, severe form of Childhood Tuberculosis, Hepatitis B and Meningitis & Pneumonia caused by Hemophilus Influenza type B
  • Sub-nationally Against 3 Diseases: Rotavirus diarrhea, Pneumococcal Pneumonia and Japanese Encephalitis
  • Two major milestones of the UIP have been the eradication of polio in 2014 and the elimination of maternal and neonatal tetanus in 2015.
Mission Indradhanush:
  • Mission Indradhanush (MI) was launched by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW) in 2014 with the aim to vaccinate all unvaccinated and partially vaccinated children under UIP.
  • It is being implemented in several phases.
Other Supporting Measures:
  • Electronic Vaccine Intelligence Network (eVIN) rollout.
  • National Cold Chain Management Information System (NCCMIS).
News Source: DTE

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