Between 2010 and 2017, 169 million children worldwide (an average of 21 million a year) did not receive the first dose of the measles vaccine, the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) said. For the agency, the increase in the number of unvaccinated children paved the way for the outbreaks of measles, which are currently affecting several countries.
Unicef Executive Director Henrieta Forre stressed that measles virus will always detect unvaccinated children and that vaccines need to be vaccinated both in rich and in poor countries. "The basis for the outbreaks of measles that we are witnessing today in the world has been established for years," he recalled.
Unicef data show that more than 110,000 cases of measles worldwide were reported in the first three months of 2019, an increase of 300% over the same period last year. The prognosis is that by 2017, the disease killed 110,000 people, most of whom were children. The figures show a 22% increase over the previous year, where factors such as lack of access, poor health systems and, in some cases, fear or skepticism about vaccines have resulted in global coverage. the first dose of measles vaccine is 85% in 2017. The overall coverage of the second dose is even lower: 67%. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommendation is that the coverage is 95% to achieve so-called mass immunity.
The United States is at the top of the list of high-income countries with the highest number of children who did not receive the first dose of the vaccine between 2010 and 2017 – more than 2.5 million. Next, France and the United Kingdom, with over 600,000 and 500,000 children vaccinated during the same period, and in the low and middle income countries the situation is critical. Until 2017, Nigeria has the largest number of children under 1 year of age without the first measles vaccine dose – nearly 4 million children were in this situation. India ranks second with 2.9 million children, followed by Pakistan and Indonesia with 1.2 million.
Ukraine, the Philippines, and Brazil are the countries with the highest increase in disease incidence between 2017 and 2018. UNICEF warns that coverage levels of the second dose of the measles vaccine in the world are even worse. Of the 20 countries with the highest number of children without a vaccine in 2017, nine of them did not introduce the second dose, "the study concluded.