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Measles Is a Growing Threat To Nearly 40 Million Children!

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Measles Is a Growing Threat To Nearly 40 Million Children!

(CTN News) – Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, vaccination coverage for measles has steadily declined.

Nearly 40 million children missed the measles vaccine dose in 2021, a record high: 25 million missed their first dose, and 14.7 million missed the second dose, according to a joint publication by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In addition to this decline, this is a significant setback in the global effort to eliminate from the environment. This exposes millions of children to the risk of infection.

Approximately 9 million cases of measles were reported worldwide in 2021, resulting in 128,000 deaths. Twenty-two countries have experienced large and disruptive outbreaks.

Despite declines in vaccine coverage, weakened measles surveillance, and interruptions and delays in immunization activities due to COVID-19, as well as persistent large outbreaks in 2022, remains an imminent threat throughout the world.

A paradox of the pandemic is that while vaccines against COVID-19 have been developed and deployed in record time, routine immunization programs have been severely disrupted, and millions of children have been deprived of life-saving vaccinations against deadly diseases such as,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

“Immunization programmes must be restored to their normal course as soon as possible.

Despite the fact that measles is one of the most contagious human viruses, it is almost entirely preventable through vaccination.

In order to achieve and maintain the elimination of , it is necessary to achieve or exceed 95% coverage of 2 doses of measles-containing vaccine in order to build herd immunity.

Globally, only 81% of children receive their first dose of measles-containing vaccine, and 71% receive their second dose.

It is the lowest global coverage rate for the first dose of measles vaccination since 2008, although coverage varies from country to country.

Any case of anywhere poses a threat to the global community, as the virus is capable of spreading quickly across multiple communities and across international borders.

A measles-free region has not been achieved and sustained by any WHO region. There have been outbreaks of in ten countries that had previously eliminated the disease.

CDC Director Dr Rochelle P Walen sky stated, “The record number of children under-immunized and susceptible to measles highlights the profound damage that has been sustained by the immunization systems during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

It is imperative for public health officials to identify communities at risk of  outbreaks, determine the causes of under vaccination, and help provide locally tailored solutions to ensure vaccinations are available to all.

Measles outbreaks demonstrate weaknesses in immunisation programs.

As a result of delays caused by COVID-19 in 18 countries, nearly 61 million doses of the measles vaccine were postponed or missed in 2021. As delays increase the risk of outbreaks of , public health officials are advised to accelerate vaccination efforts and strengthen surveillance as soon as possible.

In order to reach all unprotected children, including those who have been missed during the last two years, the CDC and WHO urge everyone to take coordinated and collaborative action at global, regional, national, and local levels.

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