Over half a million British children are at risk from the potentially deadly measles virus as they missed their prescribed immunizations in the last eight years, reveals a new study.
Health experts say children should have two doses of the vaccine to fully protect against the disease, which is a highly infectious viral illness that can lead to serious health complications, including infections of the lungs and brain that can be fatal.
‘The head of the National Health Service has warned that vaccine refusal is a growing public health timebomb as new figures reveal half a million children in the UK were not vaccinated against measles over eight years.’
According to the Unicef, a mixture of complacency, misinformation, skepticism about immunizations, and a lack of access to jabs has led to inadequate vaccination rates globally, the BBC said.
It comes as National Health Service (NHS) chief Simon Stevens warned measles cases had almost quadrupled in England in just one year and urged families to get the vaccine.
He said people rejecting vaccines was a "growing public health time bomb," the BBC reported.
Globally, the report shows, 169 million children were not given the first dose of measles vaccine between 2010 and 2017.
The Unicef report shows that between 2010 and 2017:
- The US topped the list for the number of unvaccinated children in high-income countries, with 2,593,000 missing the first dose of the vaccine
- The comparable figure for France was 600,000
- The UK came third, with 527,000 children not getting their first dose of the vaccine over the seven-year period
- In Nigeria, four million children under one did not get the first dose of the vaccine
The figures for the second dose of the measles vaccine "were even more alarming," the Unicef has said.