“Nearly 17,338 cases of measles were reported worldwide in January and February 2022, compared to 9,665 cases during the first two months of 2021,” the organizations said in a press release on Wednesday, noting that there were 21 “large and devastating” outbreaks, Many of them are in Africa. and the eastern Mediterranean region.
“Epidemic-related disruptions, increasing inequality in access to vaccines, and diversion of resources from routine immunization are leaving many children unprotected against measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases,” the organizations said, adding that as cities and countries relax -19 epidemic restrictions, Measles outbreaks become more likely.
“It is encouraging that people in many communities are beginning to feel sufficiently protected from COVID-19 to return to more social activities. But doing so in places where children are not receiving routine vaccination creates the perfect storm for a disease like measles to spread,” said Katherine Russell, UNICEF Executive Director. , in the statement.
The organizations said that 23 million children did not receive childhood vaccinations in 2020. Recent child vaccination campaigns have been hampered by the Covid-19 pandemic and conflicts in Ukraine, Ethiopia, Somalia and Afghanistan.
As of April 1, the organizations said, “57 vaccine-preventable disease campaigns in 43 countries scheduled since the start of the pandemic are still postponed, affecting 203 million people, most of whom are children.” “Among these are 19 measles campaigns, which put 73 million children at risk of contracting measles due to missing vaccinations.”
According to the World Health Organization and UNICEF, “Coverage of 95 percent or more with two doses of a safe and effective measles vaccine can protect against measles.” In all five countries with the highest incidence last year, coverage of the first dose was less than 70% in 2020.
“We are concerned that missing routine vaccinations could leave children vulnerable to preventable diseases such as measles and whooping cough, which are highly contagious and can be very dangerous, especially for infants and young children,” Dr. Shannon Stockley, deputy director of immunization at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Service department said about the release of vaccination data.