By NewsDesk  @bactiman63

The World Health Organization (WHO) and UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) warned last month that millions of children are at a heightened risk of polio and measles across the globe due to disruptions of the immunization services worldwide due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


The UN agencies say immunization rates in some countries have fallen by as much as 50 per cent, with people unable to access health services because of lockdown and transport disruptions, or unwillingness due to fear of contracting COVID-19.

“COVID-19 has had a devastating effect on health services and in particular immunization services, worldwide,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO.

This prompted the UN agencies to issue a urgent call to action. They say that if left unchecked, the situation posed an “increasingly high risk of explosive outbreaks and potentially further international spread of both polio and measles.”

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Henrietta Fore, Executive Director of UNICEF, said that the world “cannot allow” the fight against one deadly disease – COVID-19 – to impact the fight against other diseases.

“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. That is why today we are urgently calling for global action from country leaders, donors and partners,” she said.

“We need additional financial resources to safely resume vaccination campaigns and prioritize immunization systems that are critical to protect children and avert other epidemics besides COVID-19.”