COVID-19 Will Lead to Surge in Measles Deaths
Global vaccination programs have halted amid the pandemic.
Reuters (“The world risks a surge in measles deaths with 100 million children set to miss out on vaccines due to the coronavirus“):
The world is at risk of a surge in measles deaths, with around 117 million children set to miss out on their measles vaccine this year due to the international coronavirus lockdown, according to the World Health Organisation.
Measles vaccine programmes have already been halted in 24 countries since the coronavirus pandemic began, the WHO said in a statement on Tuesday.
The halt to vaccine programmes, which the WHO expects to soon be extended to 13 more countries, comes after a recent international resurgence in the disease.
“Despite having a safe and effective vaccine for over 50 years, measles cases surged over recent years and claimed more than 140,000 lives in 2018, mostly of children and babies – all of which were preventable,” the organisation said in a statement.
“Against this already dangerous backdrop, preventive and responsive measles vaccination campaigns have now been paused or postponed in 24 countries to help avert further spread of COVID-19.”
The global chief of immunization at Unicef, Dr Robin Nandy, told the Telegraph last month that the UN agency has paused its vaccination programmes because of concerns about increasing the spread of the coronavirus.
“We do not want to contribute to the COVID problem through immunization programmes, so we are recommending that all campaigns are temporarily suspended as they bring a lot of people together. We don’t want to do any harm” he said.
He added, “It would be inappropriate for us to recommend a campaign when the government is ordering a shut down as it would be impossible to conduct it at the right time.”