With fewer vaccinations, measles kills again in Mumbai slums

Sixteen children have died in the last two months, mostly in Mumbai’s slums. According to the World Health Organisation, almost 40 million children have missed at least one dose of immunisation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) – Measles has taken the lives of as many as 16 children in Mumbai and surrounding areas in the last two months, including a five-month toddler.

This spike is exposing the flaws in the country’s vaccination system. In fact, India’s measles immunisation programme, which is administered to infants aged nine months to one and a half years, is covered by the national health plan.

Experts note that the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed down regular vaccination campaigns, especially in the poorest areas and increased reluctance towards vaccines.

The Indian Express tracked down the families of nine of the 16 children who died of measles in Mumbai and nearby areas, Nalasopara and Bhiwandi, finding that the all the children lived in slums and only one had been vaccinated against measles.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) sounded the alarm last month, warning that measles would be an “imminent threat in every region of the world” because almost 40 million children, a record, missed at least one vaccine dose in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Every year, about nine million cases of measles are reported, with 128,000 deaths. In developing countries, where the vaccination rate is low, measles is lethal for one in ten people who contract the disease.