COVID-19 Policies: Remember Measles

Journal Articles
Science Magazine Logo

Nearly 120 million children in 37 countries are at risk of missing their measlescontaining vaccine (MCV) shots this year, as preventive and public health campaigns take a back seat to policies put in place to contain coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). In March, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued guidelines indicating that mass vaccination campaigns should be put on hold to maintain physical distancing and minimize COVID-19 transmission. The disruption of immunization services, even for short periods, will lead to more susceptible individuals, more communities with less than the 95% MCV coverage needed for herd immunity, and therefore more measles outbreaks globally. A mere 15% decrease in routine measles vaccinations—a plausible result of lockdowns and disruption of health services—could raise the burden of childhood deaths by nearly a quarter of a million in poorer countries. Solutions for COVID-19, especially among the global poor, cannot include forgoing vaccinations.

Share This Publication