Measles cases worldwide have increased by 79% this year compared to the previous year. There were more than 17,000 cases in January and February 2022, compared to 9,665 cases in the same period in 2021. The World Health Organization (WHO) points to an increase in occurrences due to the decline in measles vaccination, especially in children under one year of age.
The covid-19 pandemic has made it impossible to vaccinate against measles and other diseases that have already been eradicated. This has resulted in a significant drop in the number of applications and children protected.
WHO and UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) have produced a document that warns that countries may face situations that favor the emergence of serious epidemics of the disease. It can be prevented with the basic vaccination offered in public health centres. The organizations have also detected a worrying sign of increased risks and cases of the spread of other vaccine-controlled infectious diseases. “The risk of major outbreaks has increased as communities relax social distancing practices and other preventive measures for Covid-19 implemented at the height of the pandemic,” the WHO statement said.
Another possible reason for the spread of diseases is the displacement of populations resulting from external conflicts, which generates an interruption of the vaccination routine and basic and covid-19 vaccination services.
“Measles is more than a dangerous and life-threatening disease,” UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell said in a statement. “It’s also an early indication that there are gaps in our global immunization coverage, gaps that vulnerable children cannot afford.”
The Brazilian Ministry of HealthI also published a document on the national measles vaccination campaign. The data reveals that vaccination coverage in Brazil cannot reach the entire target audience.
“Municipal vaccination coverage is still heterogeneous in Brazil, favoring the formation of pockets of unvaccinated people and the appearance of new outbreaks.
This year’s measles vaccination campaign will start on April 4 and run until July 5. To prevent outbreaks of the disease in school-aged children, the campaign will focus on children aged six months to five years and healthcare professionals. The first group consists of a total of 12.9 million children and the government intends to vaccinate 95% of the age group.