Medical Journal of Dr. D.Y. Patil Vidyapeeth

LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Year
: 2020  |  Volume : 13  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 568--569

Sustaining measles immunization services amid the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic


Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava1, Prateek Saurabh Shrivastava2,  
1 Department of Community Medicine, Member of the Medical Education Unit and Institute Research Council, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth – Deemed to be University, Chengalpet, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth – Deemed to be University, Chengalpet, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava
Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth – Deemed To Be University, Tiruporur - Guduvancherry Main Road, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet District - 603 108, Tamil Nadu
India




How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Sustaining measles immunization services amid the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.Med J DY Patil Vidyapeeth 2020;13:568-569


How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Sustaining measles immunization services amid the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic. Med J DY Patil Vidyapeeth [serial online] 2020 [cited 2020 Dec 1 ];13:568-569
Available from: https://www.mjdrdypv.org/text.asp?2020/13/5/568/294347


Full Text



Dear Sir,

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has significantly impacted the delivery of the essential and emergency health services across all the heterogeneous settings in the affected nations. On the global front, a total of 1,914,916 cases and 123010 deaths have been attributed to the novel viral infection, which amounts to a case fatality rate of 6.4%.[1] More than the magnitude of the disease, it is the rapid rise in the number of cases, which has affected the delivery of the routine health services, including the immunization services against the vaccine-preventable disease.[1]

Measles is a highly contagious communicable disease, and time and again, reports of the emergence of major outbreaks of the disease have been anticipated whenever an epidemic of another infectious disease has been reported, like the Ebola virus disease outbreak in 2014 in Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia.[2] It is important to note that despite the availability of a cost-effective vaccine, almost 0.14 million children A years of age lost their lives to the disease in the year 2018.[3] At the same time, it is a fact that the use of measles vaccine has brought about a reduction of close to three-fourth in the incidence of measles-attributed deaths, and thus, it is a must to ensure the continuation of the immunization services, especially in low- and middle-income nations, wherein the prevalence of malnutrition is also high.[2]

Considering the spread and the rise in the incidence of COVID-19 cases, it has been estimated that almost 117 million children across only 37 nations might be deprived of the measles vaccine.[4] It has already been reported that the vaccine campaigns have already been delayed in many nations, and it is anticipated that similar trends will be observed in many other nations in the coming days, if urgent measures are not taken.[4] The need of the hour is to assist the nations to sustain immunization activities during the ongoing pandemic, and it will essentially require a multisectoral and well-concerted approach from all the involved stakeholders, including the international welfare agencies.[4]

It has been recommended that in all the settings, wherein there are no ongoing outbreaks of a vaccine-preventable disease, the routine preventive immunization services need to be put on hold for a brief period of time by the national government. However, such a decision to stop the ongoing immunization activities should be based on the careful assessment of the transmission status of the COVID-19 disease in the nation.[4] Even if such a decision is taken, it is a must to identify all the vulnerable children and arrange for the stocks of the vaccine to immunize the children immediately once the vaccination services resume. Further, there is a big-time need to establish an effective communication mechanism and engage the local communities in both the vaccine and disease containment services.[4],[5] Finally, from the public health perspective, it is also very crucial to safeguard the lives of the health-care personnel who are either working in the health-care establishments or in the community settings for the containment of the COVID-19 infection.[5]

 Conclusion



In conclusion, amid the rising multiple demands on the health system owing to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, there is an indispensable need to ensure the delivery of immunization services, including measles vaccine to save the lives of children from preventable infection.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

References

1World Health Organization. Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Situation Report – 86; 2020. Available from: https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/situation-reports/20200415-sitrep-86-covid-19.pdf?sfvrsn=c615ea20_2. [Last accessed on 2020 Apr 16].
2Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Jegadeesh R. Legacy of Ebola outbreak: Potential risk of measles outbreak in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. J Res Med Sci 2015;20:529-30.
3World Health Organization. Measles Key Facts; 2019. Available from: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/measles. [Last accessed on 2020 Apr 16].
4World Health Organization. More than 117 Million Children at Risk of Missing out on Measles Vaccines, as COVID-19 Surges; 2020. Available from: https://www.who.int/immunization/diseases/measles/statement_missing_measles_vaccines_covid-19/en/. [Last accessed on 2020 Apr 16].
5World Health Organization. 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV): Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan. Geneva: WHO Press; 2020. p. 1-20.