There’s been a worrying decline in diphtheria, polio and measles jabs. We should heed the lessons of Covid-19
We forgot about measles. And tetanus and diphtheria. And polio. In the race to vaccinate the world against Covid-19, the global drive to suppress some of the biggest killers in history has fallen back.
Almost 12n doses of Covid-19 vaccine have been administered in less than 18 months – a stunning achievement, even if the global distribution has been uneven. Yet more than 30 million children have missed out on other basic vaccinations during the pandemic, with south-east Asia and the eastern Mediterranean region being the worst hit. This means large numbers of young people will be vulnerable to diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough) and tetanus, as well as measles – a disease that continues to kill tens of thousands of people every year.
Gary Finnegan is a health journalist based in Ireland
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