How easy is it to get access to the MMR vaccine?
For most people around the world, it’s not a problem. A nearby clinic, doctor’s office or hospital can provide the immunization. Just two doses for a baby or child and the vaccine can do its job. No mumps, no rubella, and best of all no measles thanks to that highly effective shot.
But, what happens if you can’t get the vaccine?
If you’re in some part of the world without reliable health standards and you have no options?
For nearly 400 children a day, that could mean death from measles. This is requires two doses. The first needs to be administered between the ages of 12 and 15 months. The second dose should come between years four and six, although it can be administered earlier if needed.
Twenty million children missed one or both of those MMR shots in 2015, leading to the 134,000 deaths from measles. Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Pakistan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo were the countries struggling the most with measles vaccinations. Those six countries made up half of the unvaccinated children and 75 percent of the kids that died from measles.
What these countries have in common is inconsistent medical care. Residents either can’t get to those vaccines or cannot afford the next dose.
Even outside of those six countries, the disease is proving difficult to eradicate in surrounding areas.
According to the WHO, 27 countries have reported at least 100 measles cases since Sept., 2016. Many of these are Asian or African countries either struggling with high levels of poverty or political conflict.
Worldwide organizations continue working together to lower these numbers.
The WHO’s Global Vaccine Action Plan focuses on more vaccines in those lower income countries. Among the ideas is an increase in the amount of affordable vaccines and more vaccination campaigns.
Dr. Rebecca Martin is director of the CDC’s Center for Global Health and she blamed the gaps in worldwide reach. “We need to close these gaps, ensure that commitments for adequate human and financial resources are kept and used well to reach every child,” said Martin.