The number of children who missed a measles vaccine dose reached 40 million in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a WHO statement said on Wednesday.
“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,” the WHO said.
The organization specified that about 25 million children missed the first measles vaccine dose and 14.7 million missed the second one.
“In 2021, there were an estimated 9 million cases and 128 000 deaths from measles worldwide. Twenty-two countries experienced large and disruptive outbreaks,” the statement added.
The WHO noted that decreased vaccine coverage, weakened disease monitoring, delays in vaccination caused by the the COVID-19 pandemic as well as large scale outbreaks in 2022 perfectly indicated that measles is “an imminent threat in every region of the world.”
Current global levels of children receiving both doses of a measles vaccine is insufficient for achieving and maintaining measles elimination, the organization concluded.