Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Measles vaccination coverage has steadily declined. Measles spreads quickly and easily. Following exposure to the measles virus, approximately 9 out of 10 unprotected individuals will contract the disease.
When there are more reported cases of the disease than expected in a given area, an outbreak of the disease is declared.
A record high of nearly 40 million children missed a dose of the measles vaccine in 2021: 25 million children missed their first dose, and an additional 14.7 million children missed their second dose, this is according to a joint report from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Millions of youngsters are at risk of contracting the disease due to this reduction, which represents a serious setback in efforts to eradicate measles globally and keep it there.
Spread Of Disease
Measles can quickly spread to numerous communities and across international borders, making it a hazard everywhere. No WHO region has successfully eliminated measles and maintained it. Since 2016, measles outbreaks and transmission have returned in ten countries that had previously eradicated the disease.
The situation is critical since measles is one of the most contagious human viruses, but immunization may almost fully prevent it. To safeguard populations and achieve and maintain measles elimination, coverage of 95% or higher of two doses of measles-containing vaccination is required.
With only 81% of children receiving their first dose of the measles-containing vaccine and only 71% receiving their second, the world falls far short of that goal. Although coverage varies by country, these are the lowest global coverage rates for the first dose of the measles vaccination since 2008.
CDC And Measles:
Due to COVID-19-related delays in additional immunization initiatives, almost 61 million doses of the measles-containing vaccine were delayed or skipped. This raises the possibility of more severe epidemics occurring globally.
“The record number of children under-immunized and susceptible to measles illustrates the significant harm immunization systems have received throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” says the CDC Director Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky.
Public health officials can use outbreak response to identify at-risk communities, understand the reasons behind under-vaccination, and help deliver locally tailored solutions to ensure vaccinations are available to everyone.
CDC offers partners and nations technical assistance to:
- To stop outbreaks, find measles quickly.
- Analyze facts and statistics to assist in making decisions
- Set up and carry out immunization initiatives in response to outbreaks
- Identify and transport resources to areas where they are most needed.
- Perform laboratory testing
CDC And WHO:
Nearly 61 million doses of the measles vaccine were delayed or skipped in 2021 due to COVID-19-related delays in immunization programs in 18 different nations. The time is now for public health officials to step up immunization efforts and boost surveillance as delays raise the likelihood of measles outbreaks.
The CDC and WHO urge all partners to work together in a coordinated manner at the international, regional, national, and local levels to discover and immunize all unprotected children, including those who were overlooked in the previous two years.
Measles outbreaks highlight flaws in vaccination campaigns and other crucial health services. Countries and international stakeholders must invest in effective surveillance systems to reduce the danger of outbreaks. Global immunization partners are still dedicated to assisting with the Immunization Agenda 2030 global immunization plan.