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Between 2010 and 2017, an average of 21.1 million children missed their first dose of the measles vaccine, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) revealed on Wednesday, stressing its importance to creating “an umbrella of immunity for everyone.”
According to UNICEF, widening pockets of unvaccinated children have created a pathway to the measles outbreaks currently spreading around the world. “The ground for the global measles outbreaks we are witnessing today was laid years ago,” said Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director.
UNICEF explained that although two doses of the measles vaccine are “essential” to protect children from the disease, a lack of access, poor health systems, complacency, and in some cases a fear of vaccines, led to a drop in global coverage to only 85 per cent in 2017, which has remained relatively constant over the last decade. However, at 67 per cent, global coverage for the second dose is much lower.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a threshold of 95% immunization coverage to achieve so-called “herd immunity”; or vaccinating a significant enough portion of the population to provide protection for those who have yet to develop immunity… (April 24, 2019)