The World Health Organization (WHO) and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Thursday that Nigeria and nine other countries accounted for more than half of the 22 million children who missed their first dose of measles vaccine in 2022.
The other countries are Angola, Brazil, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Madagascar, Pakistan and the Philippines.
In a new report, UN bodies said an estimated 9 million and 136,000 measles deaths in 2022, mostly among children, occurred after years of declining measles vaccination coverage around the world.
He added that measles cases and measles deaths increased by 18% and 43%, respectively, in 2022 compared to 2021 globally.
While 37 countries experienced large or nuisance measles outbreaks in 2022 compared to 22 countries in 2021, the report indicated that 28 of those countries with outbreaks were in the WHO Africa region, six in the eastern parts of the Mediterranean Sea, two in Southeast Asia, and one in the European Region.
According to the report, low-income countries where the risk of death from measles is highest still have the lowest vaccination rates at just 66%, a rate that shows no sign of improvement after receding during the pandemic.
According to the report, despite slight increases in vaccination coverage globally in 2022 compared to 2021, 33 million children did not receive a dose of measles vaccine, almost 22 million did not receive the first dose and an additional 11 million did not receive the second dose in 2022
WHO Director of Immunization, Vaccines and Biological Medicines, Kate O’Brien, said in response that “the failure to improve measles vaccination coverage in low-income countries after the pandemic is a wake-up call for action.
Measles is called the virus of inequality for a reason. It is a disease that will find and attack those who are not protected. “Children everywhere have the right to be protected by the life-saving measles vaccine, no matter where they live.”
In his remarks, CDC Global Division of Immunization Director John Vertefeuille said: “The increase in measles outbreaks and deaths is astonishing but unfortunately not unexpected given the declining vaccination rates we have seen over the past few years.
Cases of measles anywhere pose a risk to all countries and communities where people are under-immunized. “Urgent, targeted efforts are critical to preventing measles disease and deaths.”
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