Why is it necessary for Nigeria to increase the level of Immunization

In order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal of ensuring that no child may die from preventable fatalities, stakeholders have to work together for the strengthening of immunization. ODIRI UCHENUNU-IBEH 9 (Lagos) and PATIENCE IHEJIRIKA (Abuja) have written. Several studies show that vaccination against childhood diseases is among the most cost-effective health interventions that are available.

Despite this fact, millions of children still miss standard immunization each year. For example, according to UNICEF, over 20 million children around the world missed measles vaccine annually in the previous 8 years which formed a path for the current global outbreaks.

UNICEF disclosed an estimate of 169 million children who missed the first dose of measles vaccine between the years 2010-2017 or 21.1 million children a year by average. The agency also stated that the increasing number of unvaccinated kids have paved the way for measles outbreaks around the globe today.

The report further said that the first 3 months of 2019, over 110,000 measles cases were reported around the globe. This is more than 300% from the same time last year. Almost 110,000 people, children mostly, died from measled in 201. This is a 22% bump from the previous year. This emphasizes that 2 doses of measles vaccines are paramount to protect children from this disease.

However, credited to the lack of access, sub-par health systems, complacency and in some cases, fear or doubt about vaccines, the worldwide coverage of the 1st dose of the measles vaccine was at 85% in 2017. This figure has remained almost constant over the last decade despite the population growth. Worldwide coverage for the 2nd dosage is much lesser at 67%. The WHO recommends a threshold of 95% immunization coverage to achieve the so called ‘Herd Immunity’.