Coronavirus fears and movement restrictions have led some parents to skip or postpone bringing their children to health centers for routine vaccinations, especially in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In Latin America and the Caribbean, where historically high vaccination rates were already slipping before the pandemic, this disruption of basic immunizations threatens to make the situation worse. To make sure children don't miss out on lifesaving vaccinations, UNICEF-supported teams are bringing vaccines directly into the community.
The video below follows a dedicated vaccination brigade in Bolivia — where immunization rates dropped 14 percent from 2010 to the start of the pandemic — doing what it takes to ensure that every child gets the best start in life.
Have vaccines, will travel
Jovana Pari Flores's 18-month-old niece was one of many children vaccinated by the dedicated UNICEF-supported team. "We are motivated to vaccinate children because it is an obligation that parents have so that our children will be healthy and not get sick," she said.
Year in and year out, UNICEF provides vaccines for almost half of the world's children
“Vaccines are one of the most powerful tools in the history of public health, and more children are now being immunized than ever before,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “But the pandemic has put those gains at risk. The avoidable suffering and death caused by children missing out on routine immunizations could be far greater than COVID-19 itself. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Vaccines can be delivered safely even during the pandemic, and we are calling on countries to ensure these essential lifesaving programs continue.”
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Top photo: In El Alto, Bolivia, 6-year-old Noelia gently touches her arm after receiving a flu shot from a member of a UNICEF-supported vaccination team that goes door-to-door in the community, reaching children with lifesaving immunizations and micronutrients. © UNICEF/UN0361693/Calderón. Video edited by Tong Su for UNICEF USA.