Lower-income nations are catching up with wealthier countries in basic vaccine coverage for children, but COVID-19 is threatening progress


  • Heather Mason
  • Univadis Medical News
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New analysis of WHO/UNICEF data by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, published in a press release shows that lower-income nations are catching up with wealthier countries in basic vaccine coverage, but COVID-19 is endangering vaccination efforts.

Roughly 65 million children in the world’s poorest countries received basic diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DTP3) vaccinations with support from Gavi in 2019, one million more than in 2018. This resulted in an increase in coverage from 80% in 2018, to 81%.

The analysis revealed that the gap in vaccine coverage between Gavi-supported lower-income countries and wealthier countries has shrunk to record lows in 2019. When Gavi was created in 2000, lower-income countries averaged vaccine coverage of 59%, with middle-income countries on 88%. Now that gap has shrunk to just ten per cent, with Gavi-supported countries on 81% and non-Gavi supported middle-income countries on 91%.

Though the official data only covers 2019, earlier this month WHO and UNICEF warned that preliminary data for the first four months of 2020 shows an alarming decline in the number of children receiving vaccines around the world, due to disruptions in the delivery and uptake of immunisation services caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.