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That corona virus The pandemic has resulted in home stay orders that place young children at risk of contracting measles, polio and diphtheria, according to a report released Friday by World Health Organization (WHO).
Routine child immunization in at least 68 countries has been postponed due to the unprecedented spread of COVID-19 worldwide, making children under the age of one more vulnerable.
More than half of 129 countries, where immunization data are available, reported moderate, severe or total vaccination suspensions during March and April.
“Immunization is one of the most powerful and fundamental disease prevention tools in the history of public health,” said WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “Disorders of the immunization program from the COVID-19 pandemic threaten to loosen decades of progress against vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles.”
That WHO have reported reasons for decreased immunization rates. Some parents are afraid to leave home due to travel restrictions related to coronavirus, while lack of information on the importance of immunization remains a problem in some places.
Health workers are also lacking due to COVID-19 restrictions.
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Experts worry that immunization rates around the world, which have increased since the 1970s, are now under threat.
“More children in more countries are now protected against more vaccine-preventable diseases than at any point in history,” said Gavi’s CEO, Dr. Seth Berkley. “Because of COVID-19, this great progress is now threatened.”
UNICEF has also reported delayed vaccine deliveries due to coronavirus restrictions and is now “appealing to governments, the private sector, the aviation industry, and others, to free up shipping space at affordable costs for this life-saving vaccine.”
Experts say that children need to receive their vaccine at the age of 2 years.
And in the case of polio, 90 percent of the population needs to be immunized to remove the disease.
Polio is back in some parts of the world, with more than a dozen African countries reporting this year’s polio outbreak.
“We cannot let our struggle against one disease come at the expense of long-term progress in our struggle against another disease,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore.
“We have an effective vaccine against measles, polio and cholera,” he said. “Although circumstances may require us to temporarily stop some immunization efforts, these immunizations must be restarted as soon as possible or we risk exchanging one deadly outbreak for another.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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