(HealthDay News) — Routine vaccination coverage decreased worldwide in 2021, according to research published in the Nov. 4 issue of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Audrey Rachlin, PhD, from the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues updated a 2020 report with global, regional, and national vaccination coverage estimates and trends through 2021.

The researchers observed a decrease in global estimates of coverage with 3 doses of diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis-containing vaccine (DTPcv3), from an average of 86% during 2015 to 2019 to 83% and 81% in 2020 and 2021, respectively. Worldwide, 25.0 million infants (19% of the target population) were not vaccinated with DTPcv in 2021, which was 2.1 and 5.9 million more than in 2020 and 2019, respectively. The number of infants who did not receive any DTPcv3 dose by age 12 months was 37% higher in 2021 than 2019 (18.2 million vs 13.3 million).

There was a decrease in coverage with the first dose of measles-containing vaccine (MCV1) from an average of 85% in 2015 to 2019 to 84% and 81% in 2020 and 2021, respectively. The coverage levels for DTPcv3 and MCV1 were the lowest since 2008. For bacillus Calmette-Guérin vaccine, the completed series of Haemophilus influenzae type b vaccine, hepatitis B vaccine, polio vaccine, and rubella-containing vaccine global coverage estimates were also lower in 2021 than 2020 and 2019.

“Reversing worrisome vaccination trends and extending previous gains in coverage beyond prepandemic levels will require targeted and context-specific approaches to eliminate barriers to vaccination, particularly in communities with large populations of zero-dose children,” the authors write.

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