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Measles an imminent threat as 40 million children missed dose during COVID: WHO

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Geneva, Nov 24: The World Health Organization(WHO) and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in a joint statement on Wednesday said that measles immunization dropped significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic as 40 million children missed a vaccine dose in this period.

"25 million children missed their first dose and an additional 14.7 million children missed their second dose," the statement said. This decline is a significant setback in global progress towards achieving and maintaining measles elimination and leaves millions of children susceptible to infection, the report said.

Measles an imminent threat as 40 million children missed dose during COVID: WHO

"There is now an imminent threat of measles spreading to different regions around the world as COVID-19 has led to a steady decline in vaccination coverage and weakened surveillance of the disease," said WHO and CDC in the joint report.

Measles is one of the most contagious human viruses but is almost entirely preventable through vaccination. However, it requires 95 per cent vaccination coverage to create herd immunity.

Measles fear on a rise in Mumbai: 7 suspected deaths, 164 reported cases since SeptemberMeasles fear on a rise in Mumbai: 7 suspected deaths, 164 reported cases since September

"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," he pointed out.

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    Meanwhile, India has recorded 9489 new Measles cases in the first half of the year.

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