Global Efforts Towards Immunization | 24 Jul 2023

Source: DTE

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:
  • 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?

  • About:
    • 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).

UPSC Civil Services Examination, Previous Year Question (PYQ)

Q. ‘Mission Indradhanush’ launched by the Government of India pertains to (2016)

(a)  immunization of children and pregnant women 
(b)  construction of smart cities across the country 
(c) India’s own search for the Earth-like planets in outer space 
(d) New Educational Policy 

Ans: (a)