More than 20 million children worldwide miss out on the measles vaccine each year

It takes two doses of measles vaccine to protect children from the disease. A troubling new report from UNICEF finds that 2.5 million children in the United...

Posted: Apr 25, 2019 10:29 AM

It takes two doses of measles vaccine to protect children from the disease. A troubling new report from UNICEF finds that 2.5 million children in the United States and 169 million children worldwide missed out on their first dose between 2010 and 2017.

That's roughly 20 million children a year, on average.

This gap in protective coverage has triggered measles outbreaks around the globe, from high-income countries in the Americas and Europe to low- and middle-income countries in Asia and Africa.

As a result, in 2017, measles killed 110,000 people globally, mostly children, according to the UNICEF report. That's up 22% from the year before.

"If we are serious about averting the spread of this dangerous but preventable disease, we need to vaccinate every child, in rich and poor countries," Henrietta Fore, UNICEF's executive director, said in a news release.

The analysis is based on UNICEF and the World Health Organization's estimate of national immunization coverage of 194 countries for 2017.

The report says lack of access to vaccines, poor health systems, complacency and fear of vaccines have all contributed to the problem.

"The resurgence of measles is of serious concern, with extended outbreaks occurring across regions, and particularly in countries that had achieved, or were close to achieving measles elimination," Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, deputy director general for programmes at WHO, said in a recent news release. "We risk losing decades of progress in protecting children and communities against this devastating but entirely preventable disease."

Globally, coverage of the first dose of the measles vaccine was 85% -- far short of the 95% needed prevent outbreaks and make communities immune to the disease. Global coverage for the second dose was even lower, just 67%.

In 2017, Nigeria had the highest number of children under age 1 who missed their first vaccine dose. India, Pakistan, Indonesia and Ethiopia followed. These five countries accounted for about half of the children worldwide who missed their first dose, about 10.4 million children in total.

In countries where measles mortality is high, WHO recommends the first dose be given at 9 months of age. In countries where the risk of infection among infants is lower, such as the United States, the first dose is recommended at age 12 months in most cases.

The situation was better but still problematic in high-income countries such as the United States, France and the UK. Coverage for the first dose of vaccine was 94% and 91% for the second dose, according to the latest data.

Among high-income countries, the United States topped the list of children not vaccinated with the first dose.

As of this week, measles cases in the United States for this year reached the greatest number since the disease was declared eliminated in 2000. Experts blame the rise on misinformation about the virus and the vaccine that has led some parents to refuse to vaccinate their children.

"The anti-vaccine lobby has been telling parents that children are getting injured from vaccines or they're getting autism. We know none of those things are true," said Dr. Peter Hotez, a professor of pediatrics at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

The UNICEF report noted the global measles crisis has continued into 2019. From January to March, provisional estimates show more than 100,000 measles cases were reported worldwide -- a 300% increase from the same period just one year ago.

UNICEF said efforts are underway to address the situation, including procuring more vaccines and helping countries identify unreached children.

"Existing strategies need to change: more effort needs to go into increasing routine immunization coverage and strengthening health systems," Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO of the global vaccine alliance Gavi, said in a WHO news release. "Otherwise we will continue chasing one outbreak after another."

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 750432

Reported Deaths: 13764
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1031991782
Lake556411007
Allen41662691
St. Joseph36974564
Hamilton36561417
Elkhart29390459
Tippecanoe22886225
Vanderburgh22549400
Porter19348325
Johnson18432388
Hendricks17608317
Clark13206193
Madison13139344
Vigo12608253
LaPorte12415221
Monroe12188175
Delaware10954198
Howard10285225
Kosciusko9619119
Hancock8562145
Bartholomew8164157
Warrick7856156
Floyd7781180
Grant7232179
Wayne7160201
Boone6939103
Morgan6746141
Dubois6214118
Marshall6208116
Cass6000109
Dearborn589578
Henry5895109
Noble580787
Jackson508975
Shelby500896
Lawrence4738122
Gibson444593
Clinton441455
Harrison441073
DeKalb439485
Montgomery436390
Whitley406343
Huntington402481
Steuben399759
Miami393169
Jasper387454
Knox375890
Putnam372160
Wabash360683
Ripley346970
Adams345355
Jefferson335785
White331553
Daviess3033100
Wells295181
Decatur289992
Greene286885
Fayette284864
Posey273835
LaGrange273072
Scott270156
Clay266448
Washington245234
Randolph244783
Jennings235349
Spencer234431
Starke227958
Fountain220348
Sullivan214343
Owen211658
Fulton202142
Jay200932
Carroll193420
Orange188155
Perry187137
Rush175826
Vermillion174644
Franklin170335
Tipton166146
Parke149316
Pike138234
Blackford136232
Pulaski120547
Newton113736
Brown104043
Crawford102316
Benton101414
Martin91615
Warren83815
Switzerland8118
Union72810
Ohio57811
Unassigned0420

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1108146

Reported Deaths: 20122
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1286421460
Cuyahoga1157382208
Hamilton813551248
Montgomery525311041
Summit48395999
Lucas43343818
Butler38951604
Stark33318929
Lorain25658504
Warren24580303
Mahoning22355603
Lake21166387
Clermont20111253
Delaware18841135
Licking16660222
Fairfield16570204
Trumbull16537482
Medina15603271
Greene15272247
Clark14233306
Wood13287198
Portage13242214
Allen11910239
Richland11601211
Miami10843224
Wayne9130222
Columbiana9029230
Muskingum8906135
Pickaway8658122
Tuscarawas8643248
Marion8641138
Erie8056164
Ashtabula7147179
Hancock6996132
Ross6943161
Geauga6834150
Scioto6534105
Belmont6155174
Union584549
Lawrence5726102
Jefferson5675158
Huron5544122
Sandusky5439125
Darke5415129
Seneca5347126
Washington5318109
Athens523660
Auglaize501887
Mercer487385
Shelby476595
Knox4570112
Madison444065
Ashland435597
Putnam4336103
Defiance432298
Fulton432072
Crawford4036110
Brown402461
Logan387577
Preble3848104
Clinton379166
Ottawa373581
Highland359665
Williams348078
Champaign344258
Guernsey324853
Jackson318154
Perry297350
Morrow291840
Fayette285450
Hardin274965
Henry273367
Holmes2699101
Coshocton268960
Van Wert247264
Adams243156
Pike242835
Gallia240750
Wyandot234556
Hocking220162
Carroll197148
Paulding176542
Meigs148240
Monroe136344
Noble136039
Harrison114138
Morgan109624
Vinton85517
Unassigned03
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