The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) says it has estimated 169 million children out of the first dose of the measles vaccine between 2010 and 2017 or 21.1 million children a year on average.
UNICEF Executive Director , Ms. Henrietta Fore anniversary of commemoration of the World Immunization Week market annually between April 24 and 30.
According to her, widening pockets of unvaccinated children have created a pathway to the measles outbreaks hitting several countries around the world today.
“The ground for the global measles outbreaks we are witnessing today was laid years ago; The measles virus will always find unvaccinated children.
"If we are serious about this disease, this is a dangerous but preventable disease, we need to vaccinate every child, rich and poor countries," she said.
The director said that two doses of the measles vaccine were essential to protect children from the disease
She said, however, due to lack of access, poor health systems, complacency, and in some cases, fear or skepticism about vaccines, the global coverage of the first dose of the measles vaccine was reported at 85 per cent in 2017.
According to this, this figure has remained relatively constant over the last decade despite population growth.
"Global coverage for the second dose is much lower at 67 per cent; the World Health Organization recommends a threshold of 95 per cent immunization coverage to achieve so-called 'herd immunity'.
“In high income countries, while coverage with the first dose is 94 per cent, coverage for the second dose drops to 91 per cent, according to the latest data.
“The United States tops the list of high-income countries with the most children not receiving the first dose of the vaccine between 2010 and 2017, at more than 2.5 million. ] "It is followed by France and the United Kingdom, with over 600,000 and 500,000 unvaccinated infants, respectively, during the same period.
" In low and middle income countries, the situation is critical.
"In 2017, for example, Nigeria had the highest number of children under one year of age who missed out on the first dose, at nearly 4 million.
"It was followed by India (2.9 million), Pakistan and Indonesia (1.2 million each), and Ethiopia (1.1 million).
"Worldwide coverage levels of the second dose of the measles vaccines are even more alarming.
" Of the top 20 countries with the largest number of unvaccinated children in 2017, nine have not introduced the second dose.
"Twenty countries In sub-Saharan Africa do not have the necessary second dose in the national vaccination schedule, putting over 17 million infants a year at higher risk of measles during their childhood, "Fore said.
She said that UNICEF in partnership with the Measles and Rubella Initiative and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, were helping to address this crisis by negotiating vaccine prices; the cost of the measles vaccine is now at an all-time low.
She said also that the partnership would help countries identify underserved areas and unreached children; procure vaccines and other immunization supplies.
"We are also supporting supplementary vaccination campaigns at address gaps in routine immunization coverage.
" Working with relevant countries to introduce the second dose of the measles vaccine into the national immunization schedule; Cameroon, Liberia and Nigeria are on track to do so in 2019.
"Finally, we are introducing innovations like the use of solar power and mobile technologies to maintain the right temperature.
" Measles is far too contagious ; it is critical not only to increase coverage but also to sustain vaccination rates at the right doses to create and umbrella of immunity for everyone, "Fore said.