45 Million Children To Receive Measles Vaccination

Unicef supported measles vaccination campaigns will target children under 5 years old

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London based UNICEF announced 45 million children in 7 countries will participate in vaccination campaigns to reduce global measles outbreak.

These measles vaccination campaigns will target children under 5 years old, which is the age group most vulnerable to this infectious disease, said this UNICEF press release, issued on February 5, 2020.

This is very positive news since provisional data reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) shows there were almost 430,000 measles cases reported during 2019.

The vaccination campaigns are scheduled for the following countries:

  • Bangladesh, where Gavi will fund measles-Rubella vaccines for over 15.5 million children under five years old. The government of Bangladesh will also support the vaccination of a further 17 million children up to nine years old.
  • The Central African Republic, where around 1 million children will receive the measles vaccine in the second phase of a campaign that began last year.
  • Ethiopia, where nearly 15 million children will receive the measles vaccine.
  • Kenya, where up to 7 million children will receive the measles-rubella vaccine.
  • Nepal, where nearly 3 million children will receive the measles-rubella vaccine.
  • Somalia, where around 1.4 million children will receive the measles vaccine in the continuation of a campaign that began last year. 
  • South Sudan, where over 2.5 million children will receive the measles vaccine.

“Measles cases rose alarmingly in 2019, affecting hundreds of thousands of children and claiming many young lives,” said Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director. 

“We need to vaccinate every child. These measles outbreaks have taught us that we need to stay vigilant. We can’t afford to wait and watch.”

To alert international travelers of their measles ongoing risks, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reissued a Global Measles Travel Alert in January 2020. 

Caused by a highly contagious virus, measles is a disease that spreads from person to person by breathing, coughing, or sneezing. A measles infection can lead to serious complications, such as pneumonia, says the CDC.

There are 2 measles prevention vaccines available in the USA: measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine, and measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella (MMRV) vaccine.

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Certain groups of people should not get measles-containing vaccines.

If you and your travel companions have received 2 doses of a measles-containing vaccine, you should have sufficient protection against the disease, says the CDC.

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Additional CDC Travel Alerts can be found at Vax-Before-Travel.

These vaccination campaigns will be carried out by governments with funding from Gavi and support from Vaccine Alliance and Measles & Rubella Initiative (M&RI) partners, including the WHO and UNICEF.

UNICEF works in over 190 countries and territories to save children’s lives, to defend their rights, and to help them fulfill their potential, from early childhood through adolescence.

Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance is a public-private partnership committed to saving children's lives and protecting people's health.