According to the WHO, the covid-19 pandemic is one of the main causes of this situation, but not the only one, since epidemics are also emerging in fragile countries, affected by armed conflicts or humanitarian crises.
Data from the United Nations Health Agency indicates that in 2021, about 25 million children were still to be vaccinated, implying a 15-year setback in measles eradication efforts.
“We are talking about one of the most infectious diseases that exist, in which a patient can infect between 12 and 18 people, which demonstrates the significant risk of spread”, declared during a press conference the director of the department of WHO immunization, Kate O. ‘Brien.
According to the official, the number of children to be vaccinated against measles in 2021 is the highest in recent years.
WHO experts said they fear epidemics have increased in number and size, and could lead to the death of children if governments do not carry out urgent vaccination campaigns.
Over the past 12 months, the WHO has identified outbreaks in 26 countries, mostly in Africa and Asia.
Kate O’Brien also warned of the danger of measles transmission from children to teenagers and young adults who have not been vaccinated and have never been exposed to the virus.
In Portugal, data from the General Directorate of Health as of October 4 indicate that measles vaccination coverage is equal to or greater than 95%.
The National Vaccination Program provides for vaccination against measles in two doses, at 12 months and at 5 years.