2021 in numbers: Infant, child vaccinations dropped 15% in May compared to 2019
Data suggests that India’s immunisation programme was largely on track this year. However, the drop in May this year and in several months of 2020 suggests some of the increase in 2021 could also be due to delayed vaccinations
Vaccines against the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes the Covid-19 disease, have been at the centre of attention for the last one year. However, this is not the only virus against which human beings need vaccines. There are a host of other viruses which require early childhood immunisation and these likely suffered during 2020. Data shows that while they have recovered in 2021, it is possible that some immunisation doses were delayed.
Here are two charts that show this.
The Health Management Information System (HMIS) of the National Health Mission gives the number of infant and child vaccinations taking place under India’s universal immunisation programme from over 200,000 health facilities.
While this is not the total number of such vaccinations taking place in India – the facilities that report to HMIS are largely government ones in rural areas – it is a good indicator of trends in vaccinations. HT has tabulated all vaccinations under India’s universal immunisation programme (https://bit.ly/3z6j1qU) reported by the HMIS, according to its website’s update on December 26, 2021.
This shows that 469 million children were vaccinated in 2020, 2.4% more than in 2019. However, there was a big drop in infant and child immunisation in the March-July period, which coincided with a harsh lockdown.
Data for 2021 is available only up to May. A January-May comparison shows that there were 193.2 million vaccinations this year, 9.6% more than in 2020, and 9.2% more than in 2019. However, there was a 15% drop in vaccinations in May 2021 compared to May 2019, the month when the second wave of Covid-19 infections peaked this year.