HealthDay News — The estimated measles-containing vaccine first dose (MCV1) coverage increased globally to a peak in 2019, then decreased in 2020, according to research published in the November 12 issue of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Meredith G. Dixon, MD, from the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues describe progress toward World Health Assembly milestones and measles elimination objectives during 2000 to 2020, updating a previous report.

The researchers found that estimated MCV1 coverage increased globally from 72 to 84% during 2000 to 2010, peaked at 86% in 2019, and then decreased to 84% during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. There was an 88% decrease seen in annual reported measles incidence during 2000 to 2016, from 145 to 18 cases per 1 million population; this number increased to 120 in 2019 and then declined again to 22 in 2020. The annual number of estimated measles deaths decreased 94% during 2000 to 2020, from 1,072,800 to 60,700, representing an estimated 31.7 million measles deaths averted.

“While reported measles cases dropped in 2020, evidence suggests we are likely seeing the calm before the storm as the risk of outbreaks continues to grow around the world,” Kate O’Brien, MD, MPH, director of the World Health Organization Department of Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals, said in a statement.

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