Measles Threat Grows as 22 Million Infants Worldwide Missed Vaccine Due to COVID Pandemic

The measles is known for being highly contagious and can spread through coughing and sneezing

Vials of measles vaccine are seen at the Orange County Health Department on May 6, 2019 in Orlando, Florida. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of measles cases in the United States as of May 6, 2019 has climbed to 764 in 23 states, with 60 new cases reported in the past week, breaking recent records. (Photo by Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Measles vaccine. Photo: Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto via Getty

Findings released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week highlight the renewed threat of another possible measles outbreak.

According to the CDC, 22 million babies worldwide did not get the measles vaccine as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The measles is known for being highly contagious and can spread through coughing and sneezing.

"Measles is one of the most contagious of all infectious diseases; up to 9 out of 10 susceptible persons with close contact to a measles patient will develop measles. The virus, which is deadly in rare cases, is transmitted by direct contact with infectious droplets or by airborne spread when an infected person breathes, coughs, or sneezes. Measles virus can remain infectious in the air for up to two hours after an infected person leaves an area," the health agency reported on its site.

The recent warning from the agency about the millions of unvaccinated children comes as the agency reported data that showed measles cases increased between 2017-2019 and then decreased in 2020.

However, the agency explained why the news is not as positive as it might seem.

"A substantial decrease in measles incidence and associated mortality occurred worldwide during 2000–2016, followed by a global resurgence during 2017–2019, then an apparent decline in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite this decline, millions more children were susceptible to measles at the end of 2020 than in 2019," the agency explained.

RELATED VIDEO: University of Virginia Disenrolls Hundreds for Violating COVID-19 Vaccine Policy

It continued, "MCV1 coverage decreased globally and in all but one region in 2020; 22.3 million children did not receive MCV1 through routine immunization, and at least 93 million persons did not receive MCV because of COVID-19–related postponement of measles SIAs."

According to the CDC, Measles vaccination has prevented an estimated 31.7 million deaths worldwide.

"While reported measles cases dropped in 2020, evidence suggests we are likely seeing the calm before the storm as the risk of outbreaks continues to grow around the world," Dr. Kate O'Brien, director of the Department of Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals at the World Health Organization, said in a statement, according to CNN.

"It's critical that countries vaccinate as quickly as possible against COVID-19, but this requires new resources so that it does not come at the cost of essential immunization programs. Routine immunization must be protected and strengthened; otherwise, we risk trading one deadly disease for another."

Related Articles