Pakistan tends to be among 10 low and middle-income countries where 22 million children missed first measles vaccine dose last year.

Following years of declines in vaccination coverage, measles cases increased by 18 percent and deaths 43 percent globally in 2022 as compared to the preceding year. This takes the tally of measles cases to 9 million and deaths to 136,000 – mostly among children, according to a latest report from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).Measles continues to pose a relentlessly increasing threat to children. In 2022, as many as 37 countries experienced large or disruptive measles outbreaks in contrast to 22 countries in 2021. Of the countries experiencing outbreaks, 28 were in the WHO Region for Africa, six in the Eastern Mediterranean, two in the South-East Asia and one in the European Region.“The increase in measles outbreaks and deaths is staggering, but unfortunately, not unexpected given the declining vaccination rates we’ve seen in the past few years,” said John Vertefeuille, director of CDC’s Global Immunization Division. “Measles cases anywhere pose a risk to all countries and communities where people are under-vaccinated. Urgent, targeted efforts are critical to prevent measles disease and deaths.”Measles is preventable with two doses of vaccine. However, around 33 million children missed a measles vaccine dose in 2022 – nearly 22 million missed first dose and 11 million missed second dose. The global vaccine coverage rate of the first dose at 83 percent and second dose at 74 percent were still well under 95 percent coverage with two doses that is necessary to protect communities from outbreaks.Low-income countries, where the risk of death from measles is highest, continue to have the lowest vaccination rates at only 66 percent. Half of the children who missed their first dose belong to 10 countries, including Angola, Brazil, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Madagascar, Nigeria, Pakistan and Philippines.“The lack of recovery in measles vaccine coverage in low-income countries following the pandemic is an alarm bell for action. Measles is the disease that attack those who aren’t protected,” said Kate O’Brien, WHO Director for Immunization, Vaccine and Biologicals.CDC and WHO urge countries to vaccinate all children against measles as well as other vaccine-preventable diseases, and encourage global stakeholders to aid countries to vaccinate their most vulnerable communities.

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