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Measles Vaccination Coverage Still Below Prepandemic Levels

Coverage with first dose of measles-containing vaccine decreased to 81 percent in 2021 during pandemic

By Elana Gotkine HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Nov. 16, 2023 (HealthDay News) — Since 2000, measles vaccination has averted an estimated 57 million deaths worldwide, but vaccination coverage decreased during the COVID-19 pandemic and has not returned to prepandemic levels, according to research published in the Nov. 17 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Anna A. Minta, M.D., from the World Health Organization in Geneva, and colleagues describe worldwide progress toward measles elimination during 2000 to 2022.

The researchers found that estimated coverage worldwide with the first dose of measles-containing vaccine (MCV) increased from 72 to 86 percent during 2000 to 2019, then decreased to 81 percent in 2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic, reaching the lowest coverage level since 2008. First-dose MCV increased to 83 percent in 2022. The measles surveillance indicator target of two or more discarded cases per 100,000 population was achieved by 72 of 144 countries reporting measles cases in 2022. Estimated measles cases increased 18 percent from 2021 to 2022, and there was an increase seen in the number of countries experiencing large or disruptive outbreaks, from 22 to 37. During 2021 to 2022, there was a 43 percent increase in estimated measles deaths. Overall, during 2000 to 2022, an estimated 57 million measles deaths were averted due to vaccination.

“It is critical that all countries and global partners work to accelerate the recovery of vaccination and surveillance programs toward the end goal of regional measles elimination,” the authors write.

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