After Dr Milan Jovanovic Batut Public Health Institute reported on the drop in child immunization rates in Serbia in 2020 and 2021, UNICEF warns of an outbreak of measles and other infectious diseases that can be prevented by regular vaccination.
This decline is partly the result of poorer availability of pediatric services during the pandemic period, but also the result of the so-called “infodemic” and increased public opposition to vaccines.
Of particular concern is the decline in vaccination against measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), which, in 2021, was 74.8 percent at the national level, and only 24.4 percent in one of the Serbian cities. The number of unvaccinated and susceptible children has increased over the past few years to a level that poses an increased risk for the spread of vaccine-preventable diseases, which can lead to measles outbreaks. Unfortunately, it would not be the first time that this happens in Serbia.
“Although it seems that we are one step away from the outbreak of a smallpox epidemic in Serbia, this situation can be avoided. Safe vaccines are available in Serbia, and pediatric services are easier to access now than during the period of the Covid-19 virus pandemic, which is largely behind us,” said Deyana Kostadinova, Director of UNICEF Serbia.
This post is also available in: Italiano