Polio and Measles cases might increase following the Coronavirus Pandemic

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Currently the world is under the deadly coronavirus pandemic which has caused disruption of the routine inoculation plans. This disruption has put the lives of 80 million children under 1-year old at risk due to the vaccine avoidable diseases according to a report by the World Health Organization, UNICEF and Gavi.

Researchers surveyed around 129 poor and middle-income countries and revealed that 68 of these countries had some level of interruption of immunization facilities through clinics or through vaccine campaigns. Polio programs have been put off in 38 countries and measles initiatives have seen the same fate in 27 other countries. Numerous health experts say that they think that the number of deaths from diseases such as cholera, rotavirus and other diseases will outnumber those caused due to coronavirus.

CEO of Gavi, Dr. Seth Berkley, said that middle income countries had created huge gains in inoculations against various diseases lately. Prior to the pandemic, he stated, more kids in numerous nations had been vaccinated for a number of diseases. The issue of decreasing vaccine rates is not constrained to developing countries, but it has also become an issue of developed countries.

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Berkley said, “Due to Covid-19, this immense progress is now under threat, risking the resurgence of diseases like measles and polio”. He further talked about the importance of restarting the vaccine campaigns, saying, “It will also ensure we have the infrastructure we need to roll out an eventual Covid-19 vaccine on a global scale.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention informed that coverage rates among Michigan infants had decreased below 50 percent for all infant inoculations. According to the New York City, in a six-week period of lock down, the amount of vaccine doses related to children decreased by 63 percent, compared with the same time last year. There are a number of reasons for the vaccine interruptions some of which are the lack of sufficient protective gear.

Furthermore, parents have been reluctant to take kids to hospitals due to the pandemic. Numerous regions are in lock down and a large number of medicinal services laborers who were involved in vaccination may be redirected to react to corona virus. About 80% flights to Africa – that deliver the vaccines and syringes to remote areas have also been cancelled, causing a significant decrease in the vaccinations.

In light of the pandemic, Nigeria, which had been well on target to be ensured as liberated from the polio infection, had to drop two polio immunization campaigns in focused territories that would have inoculated an aggregate of 37.6 million children. Similarly, measles and rubella vaccination campaigns have also been halted.

Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, measles cases were already increasing. In 2017, there were 7,585,900 evaluated measles cases and 124,000 assessed deaths, as indicated by the World Health Organization. In 2018, there were 9,769,400 evaluated measles cases and 142,300 related deaths. The current disruption of its vaccine campaigns would push it further and might lead to the largest increase in measles cases in history.

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According to Dr. Frank Mahoney, ‘an immunization expert and medical epidemiologist with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies’, “Prior to Covid, measles was moving across the world as people flew. With more and more children becoming susceptible to it, it could be amplified and become a major international problem.”

Executive director of UNICEF, Henrietta Fore, added, “While circumstances may require us to temporarily pause some immunization efforts. These immunizations must restart as soon as possible, or we risk exchanging one deadly outbreak for another.”

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