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UN Warns Millions Of Kids May Miss Measles Vaccine During COVID-19 Pandemic

by | April 14, 2020

United Nations (UN) officials have warned that upward of 100 million children could miss scheduled measles vaccines as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The UN states that 24 countries have already decided to postpone measles vaccines, while 13 have opted to cancel them entirely. A number of these countries are faced by active measles outbreaks.

The organization’s children’s fund (UNICEF) and World Health Organization (WHO) have joined forces in stressing the importance of planning for the vaccine, despite the ongoing public health crisis.

“The pandemic sweeping the globe requires a coordinated effort and commitment of resources to ensure frontline health workers around the world are protected, as they face and respond to this new threat,” today’s statement reads. “At the same time, we must also champion efforts to protect essential immunization services, now and for the future.”

“If the difficult choice to pause vaccination is made due to the spread of COVID-19, we urge leaders to intensify efforts to track unvaccinated children, so that the most vulnerable populations can be provided with measles vaccines as soon as it becomes possible to do so.”

Officials also stressed the role of parents in enforcing social distancing procedures, a necessary move to continue to fight the spread of high-risk contagions.

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Children’s lives could be at risk if vaccines are delayed by COVID-19 (Gargonia/Shuttertsock.com)

COVID-19 & Measles Vaccine — Longterm Impact

The official statement warned that vaccines skipped entirely could result in deaths beyond those caused by the coronavirus.

“While we know there will be many demands on health systems and frontline workers during and beyond the threat of COVID-19, delivering all immunization services, including measles vaccines, is essential to saving lives that would otherwise be lost to vaccine preventable diseases,” it reads.

“Children younger than 12 months of age are more likely to die from measles complications, and if the circulation of measles virus is not stopped, their risk of exposure to measles will increase daily.”

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