Millions of Children Are at Risk for Measles as Coronavirus Fears Halt Vaccines

A free measles clinic in Brazil, near the Venezuelan border, in 2018.
Nacho Doce/Reuters

Date Published: April 13, 2020

Source: The New York Times

Fear of spreading one virus has halted the immunization against many others. Unlike in Canada and other developed countries where children receive their routine vaccines in the safe and private confines of a doctor’s office, most low- to middle-income countries rely on mass immunization programs, which inoculate infants and children in public places, such as markets, schools, churches, and mosques. These countries include Mexico, Nigeria and Cambodia, who have paused or postponed their vaccination programs. The chief of immunization for UNICEF, Dr. Robin Nandy, stated it was a delicate and difficult decision in prioritizing against the spread of COVID-19 over preventable diseases like measles. Dr. Nandy also states, “we don’t want a country that is recovering from an outbreak of [COVID-19] to then be dealing with a measles or diphtheria outbreak.” Even before the coronavirus pandemic, measles was already resurging in some countries and is not likely to remain limited to developing countries. Recently, the American pediatric practices are beginning to report drops in the number of well-child visits, including those for routine vaccines, due to fears of COVID-19. 

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Summary by: Hira Raheel