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COVID-19 pandemic disrupts vaccinations, global measles cases increase by 80%

Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine vial. (Artwork: AP)

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted immunization campaigns for non-COVID-19 diseases around the world, creating a “storm of illness” that could put millions of children at risk, the Foundation said. Children’s United Nations (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization said in a statement.

More than 17,300 cases Measles were reported globally in January and February 2022, compared with about 9,600 cases in the same period in 2021.

UN data shows that there were 21 waves measles outbreak took place in the last 12 months to April 2021, mostly in Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean.

Christopher Gregory, UNICEF’s senior medical adviser on immunization, told AFP that, because measles is “the most contagious disease that can be prevented with a vaccine”, it is often taken as a warning sign.

Mr. Gregory said yellow fever is one of the epidemics that could increase next, after an increase in the number of cases was reported in West Africa.

“We’re especially worried about the most vulnerable countries, where the healthcare system is really struggling and they’re still trying to cope with the impacts of COVID-19,” he said. .

The COVID-19 epidemic disrupted vaccination, the number of global measles cases increased by 80% - Photo 1.

Measles is a viral disease that mainly affects children. (Photo: Xinhua News Agency)

According to United Nations figures, Somalia has recorded the most measles cases in the past 12 months with more than 9,000 cases, followed by Yemen, Afghanistan, Nigeria and Ethiopia. All these countries are facing conflict in different forms.

There are also concerns that the war in Ukraine could spark a “resurgence” of measles in the country after Ukraine recorded the highest rate of measles in Europe between 2017 and 2019.

More than 23 million children have been missed vaccinations periodically in 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic begins, and this is the largest number in more than a decade.

The United Nations says 57 immunization campaigns in 43 countries were postponed, at the start of the pandemic, affecting 203 million people, most of them children.

COVID-19 also continues to put pressure on healthcare facilities, pulling staff and attention away from vaccinations for long-standing deadly diseases.

“The impact of these disruptions on immunization services will be felt for decades to come,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “Now is the time to get essential vaccinations back on track and restart immunization campaigns so everyone has access to these life-saving vaccines.”

It’s time to put childhood immunizations on “at least the same priority as the COVID-19 vaccine,” said Gregory.

Measles is a viral disease that mainly affects children. The most serious complications include blindness, brain swelling, diarrhea, and severe respiratory infections.

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