Next Up: Measles Resurgence

Health workers administer immunizations in Palu, Central Sulawesi Province, Indonesia, May 6, 2020. Image: Mohamad Hamzah/NurPhoto via Getty
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Health workers administer immunizations in Palu, Central Sulawesi Province, Indonesia, May 6, 2020. Image: Mohamad Hamzah/NurPhoto via Getty

Measles outbreaks may be more likely in the near future, after the number of infants missing their first vaccination jumped by 3 million last year—the largest increase in 20 years, according to a WHO/US CDC report published yesterday.
 
Takeaways:

  • 22 million infants missed their first dose in 2020 because of COVID-19 interruptions.
  • 24 measles vaccination campaigns in 23 countries were scrapped in 2020, resulting in +93 million people at risk for the disease.
  • Measles surveillance also fell as labs received the lowest number of specimens to test in more than a decade.


Surprising silver lining: The number of reported measles cases dropped by +80% last year.
 
But: “Evidence suggests we are likely seeing the calm before the storm as the risk of outbreaks continues to grow around the world,” said Kate O’Brien, WHO director of Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals, per ABC News.

Bad trade: O’Brien warned that COVID-19 vaccination efforts should not come at the expense of essential immunization programs.
 
“Otherwise,” she said, “we risk trading one deadly disease for another.”

 
Related:
 
Largest increase in children missing measles vaccine in 20 years – Devex
 
WHO, CDC warn COVID disruptions could stall measles battle – CIDRAP

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