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Precise mapping reveals gaps in global measles vaccination coverage
Precise maps of routine first-dose measles vaccinations show slowing progress around the world between 2010 and 2019, and large gaps in coverage in many places. Many countries are unlikely to achieve global 2020 coverage targets.
Improved access to childhood vaccines has been one of the biggest breakthroughs in public health in recent decades, as evidenced by the eradication of smallpox in 1980 and this year’s declaration of Africa as polio-free1. But for measles, the road towards elimination and eradication has been bumpy, despite the existence of a safe and cost-effective vaccine. Measles cases and deaths persist, particularly in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs; see go.nature.com/37raIbw), where many factors — from conflict to vaccine hesitancy and underfunding — continue to pose challenges to immunization. Writing in Nature2, a group called the Local Burden of Disease Vaccine Coverage Collaborators provides evidence that targets for measles vaccination are in jeopardy, owing to major inequities in coverage, together with the slowdown, stagnation and regression of the coverage of routine first-dose measles vaccines between 2010 and 2019.