Measles Vaccination

The main advantage, of course, is that a measles vaccination protects against the disease. The vaccines currently available also protect against other common childhood diseases. The only con is that mild symptoms of measles appear in a small percentage of vaccine recipients. A measles vaccination gives lifetime immunity from the disease and its complications. Measles is a virus that attacks the respiratory system. Classic symptoms are a high fever, coughing and rash. Highly contagious, symptoms persist for ten days. Though the chances of dying from measles are less than 1%, complications such as bronchitis and/or pneumonia occur in 10% of patients. The death rate in the 1920s was around 30% for measles pneumonia. People who are at high risk for complications are infants and children aged less than 5 years, adults aged over 20 years, pregnant women; people with compromised immune systems, and those who are malnourished. Complications are usually more severe in adults.

In 2018, about  86% of the world's children received 1 dose of measles vaccine by their first birthday through routine health services – up from 72% in 2000. Two doses of the vaccine are recommended to ensure immunity and prevent outbreaks, as about 15% of vaccinated children fail to develop immunity from the first dose. In  2018,  69% of children received the second dose of the measles vaccine. Of the estimated 19.2 million infants not vaccinated with at least one dose of measles vaccine through routine immunization in 2018, about  6.1 million were in 3 countries: India, Nigeria and Pakistan. Especially countries where children are at risk of being malnourished have the lowest immunization rates. So there is still a lot to do to stop this preventable disease from spreading.

Posted on
November 12, 2021
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