Over 117 million children may miss out on immunization against measles as the COVID-19 pandemic forces social distancing and weigh on health services, United Nations health agencies warned Tuesday.
Measles immunization campaigns in 24 nations have already been delayed, and more might be postponed, potentially placing children in 37 nations in danger, based on the Measles & Rubella Initiative (M&RI), which supported by WHO, the U.N. children’s fund UNICEF and others.
The deadly respiratory disease COVID-19 has killed over 113,000 individuals and left nations around the world in virtual lockdown as they attempt to arrest the spread of the novel coronavirus that causes it.
However, in its shadow, a rise in measles outbreaks poses another main global health menace.
WHO mentioned in December that measles had infected almost 10 million individuals two years ago and killed 140,000, mostly children, in what it described as an outrage.
The viral disease is highly contagious; however, it can be prevented by mass immunization, which would usually imply babies and kids being vaccinated as part of routine health services.
With the battle against COVID-19 in most nations focused on keeping health employees safe from infection and imposing tough social distancing measures, the WHO has recommended that governments briefly pause preventive immunization campaigns, such as these against measles, where there is no lively outbreak of a vaccine-preventable illness.