Millions of children are at risk of contracting measles because some vaccination programs have been delayed during the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Measles and Rubella Initiative.
Twenty-four countries have paused or postponed immunization programs, including Mexico, Brazil, Kenya, and other low and middle-income countries.
Measles is a highly contagious infectious disease caused by a virus in the paramyxovirus family. It is normally passed through direct contact and through the air and causes coughing, rashes and fever.
More than 140,000 people died from measles in 2018, mostly children under the age of 5.
The World Health Organization issued new guidelines to help countries sustain immunization activities and the Initiative urged leaders to track unvaccinated children so the most vulnerable populations can be provided with the vaccine as soon as it becomes possible to do so.
"In our quest to vaccinate kids, we shouldn't contribute to the spread of COVID-19," Dr. Robin Nandy, the chief of immunization for UNICEF, told The New York Times.
"But we don't want a country that is recovering from an outbreak of it to then be dealing with a measles or diphtheria outbreak."
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