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Giving Compass' Take:
• Meg Black reports that the global focus on COVID-19 is halting vaccine programs and preventing regular checkups, increasing the risk of other disease outbreaks.
• How can funders work to support overall health during COVID-19? Who in your community needs healthcare most during this time?
• Learn about disruptions in care for elderly people during COVID-19.
Globally, millions of children are at risk of contracting measles, diphtheria, and polio as countries suspend national immunization programs as a means of reducing the transmission risk of COVID-19.
Most countries have halted mass polio campaigns and 25 countries have postponed mass measles campaigns, according to UNICEF.
Prior to COVID-19, measles, polio, and other vaccines were already out of reach for 20 million children below the age of 1 every year. In light of the newfound disruptions in immunization programs, UNICEF is concerned that life-saving immunization progress will not only be stunted — but that progress will actually be reversed.
The decrease in immunization rates during COVID-19 is not something that is unique to developing countries, either. In the United States, to avoid COVID-19 exposure, parents are canceling critical "well-child" checkups in which routine vaccines are administered.
"CDC has received reports that delivery of immunization services has been impacted by the societal disruptions and burden on the health care system caused by COVID-19," Melinda Wharton, director of the Immunization Services Division at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said in a statement shared with Global Citizen.
CDC is now examining the dangerous ramifications this is having nationwide.
Read the full article about the risk of other disease outbreaks by Meg Black at Global Citizen.