WHO report shows largest backslide in childhood vaccinations in 30 years

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Friday, July 15, 2022
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The World Health Organization and UNICEF released an alarming new report Thursday that said 25 million kids missed out on one or more doses of routine immunizations last year alone

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The World Health Organization and UNICEF released an alarming new report Thursday that said 25 million kids missed out on one or more doses of routine immunizations last year alone. It's the largest backslide in childhood vaccinations in 30 years.

"I was a teacher for 16 years," said Katie Shanahan, a mother of three. "I saw lot of germs in the classroom as an elementary school teacher."

Her kids have been vaccinated for COVID as well as things like Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis.

"It's hard to keep up with, it is overwhelming being a parent," she said. "Just this day and age with all the social media and vaccinations and things constantly changing."

The WHO said the decline was due to a variety of factors including an increased number of children living in conflict and fragile settings where immunization access is often challenging, increased misinformation and COVID-19 related issues.

"This is a huge thing we've been living through but that doesn't mean we're not going to try and get it right," said Dr. Christoph Diasio, a pediatrician in the Sandhills. "We have to catch people up and do all that bread and butter kind of primary work."

Dr. Diasio could not stress enough the amount of disruption COVID has had.

"The anti-vaccine crowd sort of overstates its impact," he said. "I think a lot more of this is disruption. It's all the difficulties of families getting into appointments, financial difficulties."

According to WHO, 18 of the 25 million children did not not get a single dose of DTP. The vast majority of people live in low and middle-income countries with India, Nigeria, Indonesia, Ethiopia and the Philippines.

Shanahan has one guiding principle about it all.

"Always remember the in-flight airlines saying you have to put your mask on first before helping your child," she said. "So in order to be the best parent take care of yourself first and then think of what's best for your kid."

Though no one was available from Wake County Public Health, they did refer ABC11 to the North Carolina Immunizations branch. The branch promotes public health and try to get vaccines out for diseases such as Hepatitis B, Measles, Chickenpox, DTP and MMR.