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Over 40 million youngsters missed measles vaccine in 2021, WHO warns of looming menace

In view of the decline in measles vaccination protection because the starting of the Covid pandemic, the WHO has warned of a world menace.

New Delhi,UPDATED: Nov 24, 2022 10:23 AM IST

In 2021, practically 61 million measles vaccine doses have been postponed or missed resulting from COVID-19-related delays in immunization campaigns in 18 international locations.

By Sneha Mordani: As measles vaccination protection steadily declined because the starting of the Covid pandemic, a report excessive of practically 40 million youngsters missed a measles vaccine dose in 2021. As many as 25 million youngsters missed their first dose and a further 14.7 million youngsters missed their second dose, a joint publication by the World Well being Group (WHO) and the USA Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention (CDC) reported.

This decline is a major setback in world progress towards reaching and sustaining measles elimination and leaves thousands and thousands of youngsters prone to an infection.

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In 2021, there have been an estimated 9 million instances and 1,28,000 deaths from measles worldwide. Twenty-two international locations skilled giant and disruptive outbreaks. Declines in vaccine protection weakened measles surveillance and continued interruptions and delays in immunization actions resulting from Covid-19, in addition to persistent giant outbreaks in 2022, imply that measles is an imminent menace in each area of the world.

“The paradox of the pandemic is that whereas vaccines in opposition to Covid-19 have been developed in report time and deployed within the largest vaccination marketing campaign in historical past, routine immunization packages have been badly disrupted, and thousands and thousands of youngsters missed out on life-saving vaccinations in opposition to lethal ailments like measles,” stated WHO Director-Common Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

“Getting immunization packages again on monitor is totally important. Behind each statistic on this report is a toddler prone to a preventable illness,” he stated.

The scenario is severe: measles is likely one of the most contagious human viruses however is nearly solely preventable by means of vaccination. Protection of 95% or larger of two doses of measles-containing vaccine is required to create herd immunity with a view to shield communities and obtain and keep measles elimination. The world is properly beneath that, with solely 81% of youngsters receiving their first measles-containing vaccine dose, and solely 71% of youngsters receiving their second measles-containing vaccine dose. These are the bottom world protection charges of the primary dose of measles vaccination since 2008, though protection varies by nation.


Measles anyplace is a menace all over the place, because the virus can shortly unfold to a number of communities and throughout worldwide borders. No WHO area has achieved and sustained measles elimination. Since 2016, ten international locations that had beforehand eradicated measles skilled outbreaks and reestablished transmission.

“The report variety of youngsters under-immunized and prone to measles exhibits the profound harm immunization techniques have sustained throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” stated CDC Director Dr Rochelle P. Walensky. “Measles outbreaks illustrate weaknesses in immunization packages, however public well being officers can use outbreak response to establish communities in danger, perceive causes of under-vaccination, and assist ship domestically tailor-made options to make sure vaccinations can be found to all.”

In 2021, practically 61 million measles vaccine doses have been postponed or missed resulting from COVID-19-related delays in immunization campaigns in 18 international locations. Delays enhance the chance of measles outbreaks, so the time for public well being officers to speed up vaccination efforts and strengthen surveillance is now. CDC and WHO urge coordinated and collaborative motion from all companions at world, regional, nationwide, and native ranges to prioritize efforts to search out and immunize all unprotected youngsters, together with those that have been missed over the last two years.

Measles outbreaks illustrate weaknesses in immunization packages and different important well being providers. To mitigate the chance of outbreaks, international locations and world stakeholders should put money into strong surveillance techniques. Below the Immunization Agenda 2030 world immunization technique, world immunization companions stay dedicated to supporting investments in strengthening surveillance as a method to detect outbreaks shortly, reply with urgency, and immunize all youngsters who aren’t but protected against vaccine-preventable ailments.


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