WHO Chief Warns Of Possible Outbreaks Of Measles And Polio
Failures in vaccination services that occur due to the new coronavirus pandemic can lead to outbreaks of infectious diseases such as measles and polio, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a statement.
"The shutdown of immunization services due to the COVID-19 pandemic is fraught with the risk of disease outbreaks that can be prevented with safe and effective vaccines," the WHO said in a statement timed to coincide with world immunization week from April 24 to 30.
WHO notes that when vaccination services become intermittent during emergencies, even if the interruptions are short-lived, the risk of diseases such as measles and polio increases. The organization recalls that due to an outbreak of measles in 2019, more than 6 thousand people died in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
"Disease outbreaks should not remain a threat when we have safe and effective vaccines to protect us. As the world strives to develop a new vaccine for COVID-19 at record speed, we must not lose the battle to protect people from vaccine-preventable diseases. These diseases will return if we do not carry out vaccination," said WHO head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
WHO has called on countries in the face of a coronavirus outbreak to "protect immunization services" to minimize disease outbreaks and deaths.