Covid-19 disruption has left 94 million without measles or polio immunisation. The Covid-19 pandemic has undermined routine vaccination services.
“We cannot allow the fight against one deadly disease to cause us to lose ground in the fight against other diseases,” said Unicef’s executive director, Henrietta Fore. “Addressing the global Covid-19 pandemic is critical. However, other deadly diseases also threaten the lives of millions of children in some of the poorest areas of the world.”
Measles vaccination prevented 23.2 million deaths between 2000 and 2018, they say, and polio was on the brink of eradication before the pandemic hit, with more than 18 million people walking around who would have been paralysed without a vaccination.
“Covid-19 has had a devastating effect on health services and in particular immunisation services, worldwide,” said WHO’s director general, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “But unlike with Covid, we have the tools and knowledge to stop diseases such as polio and measles. What we need are the resources and commitments to put these tools and knowledge into action. If we do that, children’s lives will be saved.”