CDC and WHO warn of global measles threat with millions of children unvaccinated

Millions of children unvaccinated against measles
Published: Nov. 17, 2023 at 6:24 PM EST
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - Millions of children missed vaccinations during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The result, according to a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization report, is a “staggering” increase of measles outbreaks and deaths.

While there was an increase in vaccination coverage globally in 2022 from 2021, the report shows $33 million children missed a measles vaccine dose.

“Measles is a terrible disease. A lot of people think oh my grandma got measles and she was fine. So, at best, measles can just be a mild illness. But, at worst, it can cause disability and death,” said Dr. Keyana Washington, a pediatrician with Gwinnett Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

Dr. Washington says complications in measles can be deadly in children. The airborne illness, which she says is highly contagious, is preventable with two doses of a vaccine.

However, vaccine hesitancy is a worrying trend Dr. Washington says she noticed during the pandemic.

“People are at home. They’re exposed to social media. They’re exposed to some information that may not be true or accurate that raises a lot of questions. Which is why, again, it’s important for them to come in so we can talk through that,” she said.

Steven Damon and his team over at Atlanta-based company, Micron Biomedical, have developed a needle-less vaccine that he hopes instills another layer of confidence in getting vaccinated.

“For me, personally, when I know I’m self-administering my vaccination I feel better about that,” said Damon, CEO of Micron Biomedical.

Right now, the company is developing measles and rubella vaccines to distribute to low-income countries.

Damon hopes the button can save lives.

“They don’t have the skilled caregivers, the physicians to inject them. They don’t have the refrigeration to get the vaccines to the patients. So, something as simple as this where the mother can actually administer it to the child makes a big difference,” he said.