As part of the WHO regular briefing in Geneva, UNICEFExecutiveDirectorHenrietta Fore saidCOVID-related restrictions on trade,plus strains on health services in many nations,havedisrupted regular vaccination programs around the world.She said these programs keep the world safe fromoutbreaks ofdiseases like cholera, yellow fever, meningitis and now Ebola.
She said those programs have protectedmore children and more countries against vaccine preventable diseases than at any point in history.But Fore said this pandemic is threatening to unravel this progress, risking the resurgence of other diseases we thought we had under control.We cannot exchange one deadly outbreak for another. We cannot afford to lose decades of health gains that everyone has worked so hard to achieve.
She said measles and poliovaccination programs have been hit the worst, with measles campaigns suspended in 27 countries and polio vaccinationsput on hold in38nations.In all, she said, immunization programs in 68 countries have been disrupted, putting nearly 80 million children under the age ofoneat risk.
Fore said nations need to track their unvaccinated children and see that they can get the programs back on track. Meanwhile, WHOofficialssaid theywould issue advice next week to countries on how to continue providing vaccination services safely during COVID-19.