WHO: Nearly 40 million children are dangerously susceptible to growing measles threat

1 December, 2022

Dear HIFA and CHIFA colleagues, (with thanks to Jackeline Alger, lead moderator HIFA-Spanish)

Extract below and a comment from me. Full text: https://www.who.int/news/item/23-11-2022-nearly-40-million-children-are-...


Measles vaccination coverage has steadily declined since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, a record high of nearly 40 million children missed a measles vaccine dose: 25 million children missed their first dose and an additional 14.7 million children missed their second dose, a joint publication by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports. This decline is a significant setback in global progress towards achieving and maintaining measles elimination and leaves millions of children susceptible to infection.

In 2021, there were an estimated 9 million cases and 128 000 deaths from measles worldwide. Twenty-two countries experienced large and disruptive outbreaks. Declines in vaccine coverage, weakened measles surveillance, and continued interruptions and delays in immunization activities due to COVID-19, as well as persistent large outbreaks in 2022, mean that measles is an imminent threat in every region of the world.

“The paradox of the pandemic is that while vaccines against COVID-19 were developed in record time and deployed in the largest vaccination campaign in history, routine immunization programmes were badly disrupted, and millions of kids missed out on life-saving vaccinations against deadly diseases like measles,” said WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “Getting immunization programmes back on track is absolutely critical. Behind every statistic in this report is a child at risk of a preventable disease.”...


COMMENT (NPW): This situation is largely a result of a collective failure to access, assess and apply reliable information on the benefits and risks of measles vaccination. Vaccine hesitancy has been driven by maverick doctors such as Andrew Wakefield and by a barrage of anti-vax ideology that the social media giants such as Twitter and Facebook have not only failed to stem, but have shamelessly contributed to.

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Neil Pakenham-Walsh, Global Coordinator HIFA, www.hifa.org neil@hifa.org

Global Healthcare Information Network: Working in official relations with WHO