COVID-19: Over 117 million children at risk of missing out on measles vaccines
New WHO guidelines endorsed by the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunisation aim to help countries to sustain immunisation activities during the COVID-19 pandemic
As coronavirus pandemic deepens, over 117 million children in 37 countries are expected to miss out on receiving live-saving measles vaccine, the United Nations said on Tuesday. Measles immunisation campaigns in 24 countries have already been delayed and more will be postponed, the World Health Organization and the UN children's fund UNICEF said. "Together, more than 117 million children in 37 countries, many of whom live in regions with ongoing measles outbreaks, could be impacted by the suspension of scheduled immunisation activities," Measles and Rubella Initiative (M&RI) said in a statement.
New WHO guidelines endorsed by the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunisation aim to help countries to sustain immunisation activities during the COVID-19 pandemic. "The @MeaslesRubella Initiative supports recommendations to: temporarily pause preventive immunisation campaigns where there's no active outbreak of a vaccine-preventable disease continue routine immunisation services, while ensuring the safety of communities and health workers," the statement added.
Measles is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus. Before the introduction of measles vaccine in 1963 and widespread vaccination, major epidemics occurred approximately every 2-3 years and measles caused an estimated 2.6 million deaths each year globally. More than 140,000 people died from measles in 2018 - mostly children under the age of 5, despite the availability of a safe and effective vaccine.
The coronavirus has affected 210 countries and territories around the world. There have been 1,391,468 positive cases of COVID-19 globally and 591,751 people have died due to the deadly infection so far.
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