Nearly 40 million children did not receive a measles vaccine last year amid lockdowns and a growing anti-vaccine movement, according to a CDC report
- 25 million children failed their first vaccine and another 14.7 million the second
- In 2019, 1,274 measles cases were confirmed in the US, the highest number since 1992
- Measles is an ‘imminent threat in all regions of the world,’ WHO and CDC say
A record nearly 40 million children did not receive the measles vaccine last year, the CDC reported.
Vaccination coverage against measles, one of the most contagious but entirely preventable human viruses, has been steadily declining since the start of the covid pandemic.
Misinformation related to covid vaccines has also led many parents to reject regular childhood vaccines, even though immunizations are the most effective way to protect children against measles.
A joint report by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that 25 million children did not receive their first dose and another 14.7 million did not receive their second.
The drop is a blow to global efforts to eliminate the virus and leaves millions of young children vulnerable to infection.
researchers from the University of Liverpool analyzed Google Trends and found that anti-vaccine searches “have had a continuing and growing presence during the pandemic.”
As of November 17, 51 cases of measles in the US have been reported to the CDC in 2022.
In 2019, 1,274 cases were confirmed in 31 states, the highest number since 1992, and the majority of cases in people who were not vaccinated.
Twenty-five million children missed their first dose and another 14.7 million missed their second measles vaccine, delaying the global effort to eradicate the virus.
WHO Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: “The paradox of the pandemic is that while Covid vaccines were developed in record time and implemented in the largest vaccination campaign in the history, routine immunization programs were severely disrupted and millions of children were left out. life-saving vaccines against deadly diseases like measles.’
He added: ‘Getting immunization programs up and running is absolutely essential. Behind every statistic in this report is a child at risk of a preventable disease.’
There was a rise in the anti-vaccine movement before Covid, but the push to get everyone vaccinated against that virus has fueled the problem.
Conspiracy theories and fake news about vaccines proliferated on social media during the pandemic, gaining more traction than ever.
Skepticism about covid vaccines is believed to have eroded confidence in other traditional vaccines.
In 2021, there were approximately nine million measles cases worldwide, as well as 128,000 deaths.
A total of 22 countries suffered outbreaks.
Declining vaccination coverage has meant that “measles is an imminent threat in all regions of the world,” according to the WHO-CDC report.
WHAT IS MEASLES, WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS AND HOW CAN YOU CATCH IT?
Measles is a highly contagious viral infection that is easily spread from an infected person by coughing, sneezing, or even breathing.
Symptoms develop between six and 19 days after infection and include a runny nose, cough, eye pain, fever, and rash.
The rash appears as red, blotchy marks on the hairline that travel downward over several days, turning brown, and eventually fading.
Some children complain that they do not like bright lights or develop white patches with red undertones on the tongue.
In one in 15 cases, measles can cause life-threatening complications, such as pneumonia, seizures, and encephalitis.
Dr Ava Easton, chief executive of the Encephalitis Society, told MailOnline: “Measles can be very serious.
‘[It] It can cause encephalitis, which is an inflammation of the brain.
‘Encephalitis can cause death or disability.’
Treatment focuses on staying hydrated, resting, and taking pain relievers, if needed.
Measles can be prevented by receiving two vaccinations, the first at 13 months and the second at three years and four months to five years.
Source: Great Ormond Street Hospital