Kenya recorded an increase in access to key routine immunisations in a year when more than 25 million children across the world missed out on the life-saving jabs.
A new joint report by Unicef and the World Health Organisation (WHO) shows the global children inoculation figures for the year 2021 were the lowest since 2001.
Of the 14 listed vaccines that were available in the country, eight had an increased uptake in the period under review while the remaining six either had inconclusive data or some were not affected by stock-outs.
The report shows that, across the world, two million more children missed the vaccines in 2021 compared to 2020, and six million more than those who missed the jabs in 2019.
Severe acute malnutrition
“This historic backsliding in rates of immunisation is happening against a backdrop of rapidly rising rates of severe acute malnutrition. A malnourished child already has weakened immunity and missed vaccinations can mean common childhood illnesses quickly become lethal to them,” read the joint statement.
The report shows Covid-19 played a major part in the drop in numbers. Vaccine misinformation, disruption of the supply chain, containment measures and resource diversion to Covid-19 were listed as they key drivers of the decline.
“This is a red alert for child health. We are witnessing the largest sustained drop in childhood immunisation in a generation. The consequences will be measured in lives,” Unicef Executive Director Catherine Russell said in a statement.
Most of the disadvantaged children missed the Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis (DPT) vaccine.
In Eastern Africa, Ethiopia had the highest number of children missing out on the vaccines, confirming the report’s finding that children in war-torn areas were negatively affected.