Scale-up routine immunisation along with COVID-19 vaccination
The World Health Organisation recently urged countries in South-East Asia Region to enhance routine immunisation along with the ongoing efforts to rapidly increase COVID-19 vaccination coverage.
By 2019, the Region has achieved 91% coverage with 3 doses of DTP vaccination, (DTP3). 10 of 11 nations have 90% DTP3 coverage.
In 2020, the Region's DTP3 coverage dropped to 85%. Child immunisation rates rose to 4.9 million from 3 million in 2019. Surveillance of vaccine preventable diseases was also hampered.
The COVID-19 pandemic has hampered efforts to eradicate measles and rubella, a top goal in the Region. The Region's estimated coverage with the first dose of MCV1 dropped to 88 % from 94 % in 2019. Similarly, coverage with the second dose of measles-containing vaccine reduced to 78% in 2020 from 83%. The COVID-19 pandemic has also delayed mass vaccination programs and other immunisation initiatives in several countries.
Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, the Region has maintained its status of having eradicated polio and eliminated maternal and neonatal tetanus. Measles elimination has been achieved and maintained in five countries, while two of these countries have also achieved rubella elimination. Four countries have been verified as having achieved Hepatitis B control through immunisation.