Doctors are encouraging Britons to make sure they still get their routine jabs during the coronavirus outbreak after concerns immunisations will drop.
Public Health England (PHE) have urged people to maintain their vaccinations throughout the pandemic after the World Health Organisation (WHO) warned more than 100 million children could miss out on measles injections due to Covid-19.
Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunisations at PHE said: “The national immunisation programme is highly successful in preventing serious and sometimes life-threatening diseases, such as pneumonia, meningitis, whooping cough, diphtheria and measles.
“During this time, it is important to maintain the best possible vaccine uptake to prevent a resurgence of these infections.”
Research from the WHO suggests that as many as 117 million children across the globe could be missing out on measles jabs due to the outbreak.
As #COVID19 continues to spread globally, #measles immunization campaigns in 24 countries have already been delayed; more will be postponed https://t.co/mYHWgS45Ox#coronavirus pic.twitter.com/lxYTOzjLyZ— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) April 14, 2020
The health body says that immunisation programmes have already been paused in 24 countries, and they may not take place in another 13 nations who have them planned for later in the year.
It added: “While we know there will be many demands on health systems and frontline workers during and beyond the threat of Covid-19, delivering all immunisation services, including measles vaccines, is essential to saving lives that would otherwise be lost to vaccine-preventable diseases.”
The WHO are now calling on governments to communicate the importance of measles vaccines and support the supply chains for the medicine, “and help assure a healthy life for every child especially in this challenging time”.
More than 140,000 people were killed by measles in 2018, the majority children and babies, according to the WHO.