Fear of measles outbreak amid Covid-19 pandemic

22 May 2020

Measles outbreaks may occur because of the coronavirus pandemic, says Unicef, due to possible disruptions to vaccination services. 

It is not just the world’s poorest countries at risk. Having lost its measles-free status in 2019, the UK is at risk too, say the charity.  

Almost one in eight children in the UK in 2018 had not received both measles doses. And 585,000 children in the UK have not received their first measles vaccine dose, new figures released by Unicef showed.

‘In the current health crisis, disruptions to routine vaccine services will increase the risk of children contracting measles,’ said Sacha Deshmukh, executive director of Unicef UK.

‘It’s vital that parents and health practitioners are given the support and information they need to ensure children get the right vaccines. This will not only save the lives of children, but also relieve the burden on health services in post-pandemic Britain.’

The chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners has since written an open letter encouraging parents to take up the routine vaccination programme in the UK for their children while the pandemic is ongoing.

Unicef says 117 million children in 37 countries may not get immunised on time.

Image credit | iStock