Almost 20 million children missed out on potentially life-saving vaccinations last year, the UN said Monday, as surging measles cases highlighted "dangerous" gaps in efforts to shield kids from preventable illness.
Last year, 19.4 million children were "not fully vaccinated", the World Health Organisation and the UNICEF children's agency said in an annual report -- up from 18.7 million in 2017 and about 18.5 million the year before.
This all pointed to a "dangerous stagnation of global vaccination rates, due to conflict, inequality and complacency," the United Nations agencies said.
The comparative birth rate was not provided, but they warned the global quest for widespread vaccination against life-threatening disease has stagnated.
A case in point: the global coverage rate for a key vaccine combination against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough) and measles has been stalled at 86 per cent since 2010, it said, describing the rate as "not sufficient".
Some 350,000 measles cases were reported globally last year -- more than double the 2017 number, a "real-time indicator" of the quest to expand vaccine coverage, UNICEF chief Henrietta Fore said in a statement.