Measles should worry parents more than COVID-19, according to a top children's doctor. Professor Russell Viner said that it would be "the worse case of all scenarios" if there were a measles outbreak.
More Dangerous to Children
Professor Russell Viner, the president of the Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health, fears that the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic and the yearly flu caused by the winter season could overwhelm the NHS. His warning came after figures show a 20% drop in child vaccination uptake after lockdown.
Since the pandemic started, the public was encouraged to stay at home. Thus, some children were not able to visit their doctors for vaccination, according to Public Health England.
Professor Viner said that it was more important than ever that children were protected against measles, which is considered deadly but preventable.
Measles, diphtheria, and whooping cough kill children, but they are unlikely to get seriously ill from coronavirus and unlikely to die from it, said Professor Viner. He added that the worst of all possible case scenarios would be if there will be an outbreak of vaccine-preventable conditions like measles at the same time that the second wave of coronavirus is happening.
Importance of Vaccination
Measles was effectively eradicated in the United Kingdom after the vaccine was introduced in the 1960s. However, the falling vaccine rates have seen cases increase again in Europe in the past few years, partly because of the anti-vaxxer movement.
In 2019, the World Health Organization said that the UK could no longer claim to have eliminated measles as the cases rose again.
In October 2020, the "Give The Children Their Jabs" campaign was launched. According to the DailyMail., its goal was to reverse the declining rates of children getting vaccinated in the UK and correct any misinformation about vaccines.
The campaign had worked as the NHS figures show that the number of children having the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccinations had increased.
In 2019, the number of children who received vaccination was at 90.6%, but it is still below 95%, which is the required percentage for herd immunity, according to health experts. Research shows that progress may be halted due to the pandemic. The rates are now falling by a fifth as of March 2020.
The Institute of Health Visiting held a survey of 752 health visitors, and they found that more than 60% reported contact with families had canceled or postponed the vaccinations of their child, according to Nursing Times.
One of their concerns is that they do not want to overburden the NHS, and they are scared of exposing their family to COVID-19 when attending for vaccination.
Since the decrease of vaccination, measles cases have risen again, but it is still considered lower than last year. Health officials said it was important that parents make sure that their children get vaccinated, not just for measles but also for flu.
Unlike coronavirus, children are known to be super-spreaders of flu. However, fewer than 65% of children were immunized in 2019, against a target of 75%.
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