WHO reports measles vaccinations are stalling globally

The measles virus.
The measles virus. | Courtesy of the CDC

The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported that an estimated 17.1 million people have been saved from the measles virus since 1990 due to increased vaccination efforts, they announced on Thursday.

Despite this, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the WHO have reported that progress toward total immunization has stalled during the past four years. Between 2000 and 2010, measles vaccine coverage increased to 85 percent.

“We cannot afford to drop our guard,” Jean-Marie Okwo-Bele, WHO’s director of the Department of Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals, said. “If children miss routine vaccination and are not reached by national immunization campaigns, we will not close the immunization gap.”

The WHO reports that global milestone and measles elimination goals will likely not be achieved on time considering current trends.

Primary challenges to meeting global targets for vaccination remain in the form of gaps in vaccination programs that lead to outbreaks of the disease. In 2014 these occurred in China, the Phillippines and Vietnam. The Americas and the Western Pacific also saw increased measles cases in 2014.

Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, played a role in large-scale campaigns in high-risk countries that has improved the control of the disease, including the Congo and Pakistan.

Despite this Robert Linkins, CDC's Accelerated Disease Control and Surveillance Branch chief, said approximately 100,000 children succumb to measles each year.

Organizations in this Story

Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance

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