In a recent report issued by UNICEF on April 25, it stated that more than 169 million children across the world missed out on measles vaccines in the last eight years, insinuating a much lower immunity against this contagious disease during this time period, reported The Wire.
UNICEF further broke down the figure and said that in the eight last year from 2010-2017, around 20 million children have missed out measles vaccines. Henrietta Fore, executive director of the UN children’s fund UNICEF stressing upon these disheartening figures said that the measles virus always finds a way to attack unvaccinated children. She further said that the reason for global measles outbreak that we all are witnessing today is the result of the rise in unvaccinated children over the course of years.
According to a WHO report, the contagious and vulnerability of this disease helped the measles infections worldwide to quadruple in the first three months of 2019 when compared to the same period in 2018 to 112,163 cases. In the year 2017, around 110,000 people, mostly children died due to measles, which is a 22% increase from the previous year, stated UNICEF.
What is measles?
Measles is caused by infection with the rubeola virus. The virus generally resorts in the nose and throat of an infected adult or child. This disease is highly contagious and can even cause death. The other dangerous impact of measles is that it can lead to blindness, brain damage, and deafness. Unfortunately, this disease is outbreaking across the world with in countries like the US, Philippines, Thailand, Tunisia, and Europe.
How many doses are important?
The report said that two doses of measles vaccine are required to prevent children from falling for measles and 95% vaccine coverage is needed for “herd immunity” against measles. However, the global calculation of the first dose of the measles vaccine reported was 85% in 2017 and it was lower, that is, 67% for the second dose. The UNICEF has blamed lack of access, complacency, fear or scepticism, and poor health system for such low vaccine coverage.
Which countries topped the list?
Surprisingly, the US has topped the UNICEF’s list of children missing the first dose of the vaccine in the last eight year thus resulting in the country’s biggest measles outbreak in almost 20 years. The report said that more than 2.5 million children missed their first dose of vaccine in the last eight years. After the US, came France and Britain with 500,000 and 600,000 unvaccinated children. The conditions are not good in third world countries either. For instance in the year 2017, Nigeria recorded the highest number of children without first dose – 4 million. India, Pakistan, and Indonesia accounted for 2.9 million, 1.2 million, and 1.2 million respectively.