Unicef concerned about impact of COVID-19 on routine vaccination for SA kids

Unicef is concerned about the drop in immunisation coverage among children under the age of five over the past year could leave to a resurgence of vaccine preventable childhood diseases.

FILE: Picture: 123rf.com

JOHANNESBURG - The United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) on Monday said the COVID-19 pandemic had an impact on routine vaccination rates for South Africa's youngest children.

This week marks World Immunisation Week.

Unicef is concerned about the drop in immunisation coverage among children under the age of five over the past year could lead to a resurgence of vaccine-preventable childhood diseases.

Unicef has raised serious concerns about the immunisation of children, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

READ: World Immunisation Week: Parents urged to get kids inoculated

According to the latest data from the Department of Health, 12 priority districts in South Africa have since November reported below 90% and 80% target respectively in measles second dose and hexavalent third dose.

Health experts said the drop in immunisation demonstrated the impact COVID-19 had on community vaccination coverage.

“The pandemic has had an impact on the inoculation of children in South Africa,” said Unicef's chief of health and nutrition Mariame Sylla.

The global organisation has called on South Africa to renew its focus on child health services and promote the use of vaccines to protect children from preventable diseases.

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