NOT vaccinating your children could prove more deadly than the coronavirus, experts have warned.
At present tens of millions of kids are going without vaccines for infectious and viral illnesses due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
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The disruption has meant many have missed their jabs, while some parents have kept kids away from surgeries due to fears they might contract the coronavirus in health settings.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has claimed that the decline in vaccinations will reverse years of hard-won progress .
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the WHO hailed vaccines and said they are one of the most “powerful tools” in the history of public health, but said that the pandemic has put previous gains at risk.
He said that the disruption caused to vaccination programmes could be “far greater than Covid itself”.
Research from Unicef, the Vaccine Alliance, Gavi and the Sabin Vaccine Institute found that the pandemic has left 80 million babies under the age of one unprotected.
The research states that many have been left exposed to diseases such as polio, yellow fever and measles.
In May it was revealed that fewer children had been having their MMR jabs (measles, mumps and rubella).
A study conducted by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine found that immunisation rates that were already at a seven-year low have dropped significantly compared to this time last year.
Those going to have their jabs fell by a quarter during lockdown and many children are now unprotected from the illnesses.
3,500 fewer children have had the jab compared to this time last year.
In regions such as London and the West Midlands immunisation fell even further, meaning many more children are at risk.
What is the MMR vaccine?
The MMR is a safe and effective combined vaccine that protects against three separate illnesses – measles, mumps and rubella, which is also known as German measles – in a single injection.
The full course of MMR vaccination requires two doses, and is administered at one year of age, and at around three years four months.
What are the side affects?
The NHS has outlined some of the typical side effects of the vaccine.
- mild measles for up to 11 days after the jab
- high tempreature and loss of appetite for two to three days
- three to four weeks after some chidren have mild mumps
- up to three weeks after some adult women can have painful joints
- children could have an allergic reaction to the jab
In both developed and poor countries alike, immunisation programmes have slipped back to low levels.
The executive director or Unicef, Henrietta Fore said it’s important that we don’t trade one health crisis for another.
“We must prevent a further deterioration in vaccine coverage and urgently resume vaccination programmes before children’s lives are threatened by other diseases”, she said.
At least 30 measles vaccination campaigns have been or are at risk of being cancelled because of the pandemic, The Times reported.
This could result in further outbreaks – putting more and more children at risk.
Middle income countries such as Brazil and Mexico have also started to dial down on their immunisation programmes – showing that it’s not just lower income countries that have been hit by the pandemic.
It is estimated that children born today will be 20 per cent less likely to receive globally recommended vaccines by time they are five-years-old.
According to Unicef the number of measles cases recorded globally in November 2019 was the highest it has been since 2006.
This is while in the Democratic Republic of the Congo nearly 1,000 kids have died in the last year from measles after an epidemic broke out there.
Experts have previously highlighted Ethiopia as a place where mass vaccination campaigns have worked alongside the coronavirus outbreak.
The region has just finished a ten-day programme where 14 million kids were immunised against measles.
Looking back to the UK and experts have previously said that parents should not put off getting their kids vaccinated.
Helen McDonald, author of a report published by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine said: “It’s important children are vaccinated”.
She said this is key as the country moves towards a new normal as when more nurseries open there could be a risk of infection.