Reduced collective immunity leads to rise in measles and whooping cough cases in Kazakhstan

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Growth in cases of measles and whooping cough is related to decrease in collective immunity over missed routine vaccination and refusal from vaccination in Kazakhstan. According to the statistics, unvaccinated kids are responsible for 89% of the whooping cough cases and 83% of the measles cases, Kazinform News Agency correspondent reports. 

According to an official response of the health ministry to the inquiry from the Kazinform News Agency, increased numbers of whooping cough cases are observed in the city of Astana as well as Karaganda, Atyrau, Almaty, Pavlodar and Aktobe regions.

Growth in cases of whooping cough is related to reduced collective immunity over missed routine vaccination and refusal from vaccination. In addition, whooping cough is characterized by cyclical growth in cases in every 3-5 years due to buildup of non-immune segments of population, especially kids, the ministry said.

As the ministry said, the measles situation is being stabilized in the country with the measles cases fell 38% since the beginning of the year. Decline in measles cases is recorded in 14 regions with the stable measles situation observed in Astana city, Akmola, Abai, Zhatysu, West Kazakhstan and Kyzylorda regions.

As in most countries, in Kazakhstan the number of refusals from vaccination grows with every year (7,145 refusals in 2022, 14,026 in 2023). The main reasons for refusals from vaccination, including against measles and whooping cough, are people’s personal beliefs (58%), religious beliefs (22%), mistrust in vaccines (14%), and negative information on vaccination in the internet (6%), the ministry said.

Besides, following the recent sequencing circulation of some Omicron strains, including JN.1.1 (descendant of Pirola) – 36.4%, XBB.1.16 (Arcturus) – 23.9%, and EG.5 (Eris) – 2% is confirmed.

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