The immunisation coverage among Covid-affected children in the country has witnessed a reduction compared to the unaffected ones, a new study has stated.

The study titled, ‘The effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on routine childhood immunization coverage and timeliness in India: Retrospective analysis of the National Family Health Survey of 2019–2021 data’, which was made available online on October 21, showed that the first systematic estimates from household data of the effect of Covid and associated lockdowns on routine immunisation across the country.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted health systems globally. We estimated the effect of the pandemic on the coverage and timeliness of routine childhood immunization in India through April 2021,” the study read.

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The findings of the study showed that the immunisation coverage was lower in Covid-affected children as compared with unaffected children, ranging from 2% lower for bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG) and hepatitis B to 9% for diphtheria, tetanus toxoid and pertussis (DPT-3) and 10% for polio. There was no significant difference in MCV1 (Measles-containing-vaccine first-dose) coverage, the study added.

“Coverage reduction was greater for vaccine doses given at later age groups. The rate of timely receipt of polio and DPT vaccine doses was 3%-5% lower among Covid-affected children relative to unaffected children. Among population subgroups, Covid-affected male children and those from rural areas experienced the highest reduction in vaccine coverage,” the findings showed.

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Researchers explained that for the study, data from India’s National Family Health Survey 2019-2021 (NFHS-5), a cross-sectional survey which collected immunisation information of under-five children from a nationally representative sample of households between June 2019 and April 2021, was used.

By Shadab

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