MIAMI, FL - JUNE 02:  A dose of measles vaccine is seen at the Miami Children's Hospital on June 02, 2014 in Miami, Florida. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week announced that in the United States they are seeing the most measles cases in 20 years as they warned clinicians, parents and others to watch for and get vaccinated against the potentially deadly virus.  (Photo illustration by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
How personal belief vaccine exemptions cause measles outbreaks
01:48 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

The coronavirus pandemic may have caused the “most widespread” disruption of routine childhood vaccinations in recent history, a new modeling study suggests.

At least 17 million children worldwide missed routine vaccinations because of the pandemic, according to the study’s estimates, published Wednesday in the journal The Lancet.

Unvaccinated or under-vaccinated children are vulnerable to outbreaks of disease, and public health officials around the world are worried.

“Routine immunization services faced stark challenges in 2020, with the COVID-19 pandemic causing the most widespread and largest global disruption in recent history,” wrote the researchers, from the University of Washington in Seattle, the World Health Organization in Geneva and the Pan American Health Organization in Washington, DC.

“This analysis offers, to our knowledge, the first modeled assessments of global and regional disruptions to vaccination coverage, by month, during the COVID pandemic in 2020,” the researchers wrote.

A global drop in routine vaccinations