The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted global health services, notably immunization programs. However, 2022 brought encouraging news as WHO and UNICEF data revealed that immunization services reached 4 million more children compared to 2021.
Despite this positive trend, the task of restoring immunization coverage to pre-pandemic levels remains. In 2022, 20.5 million children missed out on important vaccines, a decrease from 24.4 million in 2021, but more than the 18.4 million recorded in 2019.
Zero-dose children, those receiving no doses of the DTP vaccine, dropped from 18.1 million in 2021 to 14.3 million in 2022, but this number is still higher than the 12.9 million in 2019.
The immunization recovery has been uneven. Developed nations like India and Indonesia have shown considerable progress, masking slower improvements or even declines in low-income countries, especially concerning measles vaccination.
To address these issues, a global campaign called ‘The Big Catch-Up’ has been launched by WHO, UNICEF, Gavi, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and other IA2030 partners. The initiative targets children missed during the pandemic, aiming to restore immunization services to pre-pandemic levels and strengthen future provisions.