US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — WHO, UNICEF and the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization report that, due to a disruption or a complete stop to routine vaccination, approximately 80 million children under the age of one are at risk of contracting measles, diphtheria and polio.
According to the information of three organizations, due to the COVID-19 pandemic in March and April of the current year, vaccination was to some extent limited or completely suspended in 68 countries of the world. This is more than half of the 129 countries for which data are available, with both poor and rich states on the list.
A report on the WHO website says that the problem is global and unprecedented since the launch of massive immunization programs in the 1970s. “Undermining immunization programs threatens to nullify decades of progress in the fight against vaccine-preventable diseases like measles,” says WHO head Tedros Ghebreyesus.
The specific reasons that prevent vaccination are varied. Some parents cannot or do not want to take their children for vaccination due to quarantine restrictions, lack of information, or fear of becoming infected with COVID-19. Also, the doctors themselves cannot carry out the procedure because of restrictions on movement, employment in the fight against a pandemic, or because of a lack of protective equipment.
In addition, UNICEF reports transport problems with vaccine delivery. Due to quarantine, the number of commercial flights was significantly reduced, and charters became almost inaccessible. In this connection, the organization has already appealed to governments, the private sector and air carriers with a request to provide, at an affordable price, free packages for transporting vaccines.
“We cannot fight one disease at the cost of continued progress in the fight against other diseases,” says UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Foret. – We have effective vaccines against measles, polio and cholera. So far, circumstances require us to suspend some immunization efforts, but vaccination should be resumed as soon as possible, otherwise we run the risk of getting another epidemic instead of one deadly one.”
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