The World Health Organization and the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund have warned of an increased danger of measles spreading, citing a roughly 80% rise in worldwide cases in 2022 compared to 2021. In January and February 2022, about 17,330 measles cases were recorded worldwide, compared to 9,660 in the first two months of 2021,” the organizations stated in a press statement on Wednesday, noting that there were 21 “large and disruptive” outbreaks, including in Africa and the East Mediterranean area. Pandemic-related disruptions, increasing inequalities in vaccine access, and resource diversion from routine immunization are leaving too many children without protection against measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases,” the organizations said, adding that as cities and countries relax Covid-19 pandemic restrictions, measles outbreaks become more likely.
“It’s good to see that individuals in many places are starting to feel safe enough from COVID-19 to engage in more social activities. However, doing so in areas where children are not routinely immunized creates the ideal storm for the spread of a disease like measles “UNICEF’s executive director, Catherine Russell, stated in a press statement. According to the groups, 23 million children will lose out on childhood vaccines in 2020. The Covid-19 epidemic, as well as hostilities in Ukraine, Ethiopia, Somalia, and Afghanistan, have hampered childhood immunization programs recently.
“57 vaccine-preventable disease programs in 43 countries that were slated to take place since the start of the pandemic are still postponed as of April 1,” the groups stated, affecting 203 million people, the majority of whom are children. “Of these, 19 are measles campaigns, putting 73 million children at risk of contracting the disease as a result of missed vaccines. Coverage of at least 95 percent with two doses of the safe and effective measles vaccination can protect against measles,” according to WHO and UNICEF. In each of the five nations with the greatest number of cases,In 2020, first dose coverage was less than 70% last year.