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COVID-19 exposed 40m children to measles – WHO

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Child with measles

. A child suffering from measles

ABOUT 40 million children are currently at risk of measles infection due to disruptions in measles vaccination caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The figure was given in a report issued by World Health Organisation (WHO) and the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in their latest update on the global pandemic.

Regretting that pandemic-related disruptions caused 25 million boys and girls to miss their first dose of the measles vaccine last year, while another 14.7 million did not get the second dose, the report also records decline in measles vaccination coverage represents a significant setback in global progress to combat the disease.

Speaking while presenting the report, WHO Director-General, TedrosGhebreyesus said there were an estimated nine million cases of measles in 2021 and 128,000 deathsglobally.

“The paradox of the pandemic is that while vaccines against COVID-19 were developed in record time and deployed in the largest vaccination campaign in history, routine immunisationprogrammes were badly disrupted, and millions of kids missed out on life-saving vaccinations against deadly diseases like measles.Getting immunisationprogrammes back on track is absolutely critical. Behind every statistic in this report is a child at risk of a preventable disease,” he said.

Also speaking, CDC Director, Dr. Rochelle P. Walenskysaid none of WHO’s six regions worldwide has achieved and sustained measles elimination.

“The record number of children under-immunised and susceptible to measles shows the profound damage immunisation systems have sustained during the COVID-19 pandemic. Measles outbreaks illustrate weaknesses in immunisationprogrammes, but public health officials can use outbreak response to identify communities at risk, understand causes of under-vaccination and help deliver locally tailored solutions to ensure vaccinations are available to all,” he said.

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