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Zambia Pledges to Scale Up Vaccinations for Children

Health authorities in Zambia on Monday revealed that over 320,000 children in the country missed primary vaccinations against childhood diseases at six weeks old in 2022.

Jacob Sakala, manager of expanded program on immunization in the Ministry of Health, said it was saddening to see the backsliding of child immunizations, a situation that calls for urgent measures for catch-up and recovery to vaccinate the children in the country.

The official made the remarks during a press briefing on the celebration of World Immunization Week and the release of the findings of the State of the World’s Children report published by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

Children will remain at risk of many vaccine-preventable diseases and outbreaks if no immediate action was taken, Sakala was quoted as saying by Radio Phoenix.

The official assured that the ministry will continue to work towards improving vaccination coverage and since called for strong partnerships.

Penelope Campbell, the UNICEF country representative, said the backsliding in vaccination was the highest recorded in 30 years not only in Zambia but in other parts of the world.

She attributed the decline to the COVID-19 pandemic which put a strain on healthcare systems, diversion of immunization resources to tackle the pandemic, and a shortage of healthcare workers.

According to the State of the World’s Children 2023 report, a total of 67 million children missed out on vaccinations between 2019 and 2021, with vaccination coverage levels decreasing in 112 countries.

Source : Newsghana