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CDC warns measles is a ‘renewed threat’ as 22 million babies miss vaccine

Published: Nov. 10, 2021 at 2:15 PM CST
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(Gray News) – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning the years of progress to eliminate measles continue to decline.

More than 22 million infants around the world missed their first dose of the measles vaccine during the pandemic.

According to the CDC, there were major measles outbreaks in 26 countries in 2020.

“Large numbers of unvaccinated children, outbreaks of measles, and disease detection and diagnostics diverted to support COVID-19 responses are factors that increase the likelihood of measles-related deaths and serious complications in children,” said Kevin Cain, M.D., CDC’s Global Immunization Director.

The director of the World Health Organization’s Department of Immunization says it’s critical that countries vaccinate against COVID-19, but routine immunizations must be protected so we don’t risk trading one deadly disease for another.

The CDC says measles is one of the world’s most contagious viruses but is almost entirely preventable through vaccination.

The agency estimates the measles vaccine prevents more than 30 million deaths each year.

Still, more than 60,000 people die each year from measles, and most of those deaths are among young children.

“While we have not seen an increase in cases yet, measles is simply too contagious. If we do not act, gaps will become outbreaks, and many children will be exposed to a preventable but potentially deadly disease,” said Ephrem Tekle Lemango, the UNICEF associate director for immunization.

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