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20 million children not vaccinated in 2018: UN warns against ‘stagnation’

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Almost 20 million children missed out on potentially life-saving vaccinations last year, the UN said Monday, as surging measles cases highlighted “dangerous” gaps in efforts to shield kids from preventable illness.

Last year, 19.4 million children were “not fully vaccinated”, the World Health Organization and the UNICEF children’s agency said in an annual report — up from 18.7 million in 2017 and about 18.5 million the year before.

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This all pointed to a “dangerous stagnation of global vaccination rates, due to conflict, inequality and complacency,” the United Nations agencies said.

The comparative birth rate was not provided, but they warned the global quest for widespread vaccination against life-threatening disease has stagnated.

A case in point: the global coverage rate for a key vaccine combination against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough) and measles has been stalled at 86 percent since 2010, it said, describing the rate as “not sufficient”.

Some 350,000 measles cases were reported globally last year — more than double the 2017 number, a “real-time indicator” of the quest to expand vaccine coverage, UNICEF chief Henrietta Fore said in a statement.

In April, the WHO said 2019 was set to be worse, with preliminary data showing reported measles cases in the first quarter 300 times higher than the same period in 2018.

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There was some progress too.

By last year, 90 countries — though largely wealthy ones — integrated the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine into their national programmes, thus making it available to one in three girls worldwide, the UN said.

The vaccine is given to girls, and recently also to boys, against a sexually-transmitted virus type that causes a range of cancers, including of the cervix.

– ‘Outright false information’ –

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A worldwide resurgence of measles is partly blamed on the so-called “anti-vax” movement based on fake science wrongly linking vaccines to side effects including autism.

This has discouraged many parents, particularly in the United States but increasingly in Europe, from taking their children for their shots.

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The director of the WHO’s vaccines department, Kate O’Brien, told reporters in Geneva the UN was “concerned about the proliferation of misinformation (and) outright false information,” online.

But she stressed that “access” remained the main obstacle. Countries with the weakest public health systems still have the lowest vaccination rates, though coverage in sub-Saharan Africa rose from 50 percent in 1999 to 76 percent last year.

– ‘Backsliding’ –

A number of countries with coverage formerly well above 90 percent, have regressed, the data showed.

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In Brazil for example, application of the first dose of a measles vaccine fell to 84 percent last year from a high of 99 percent.

Ecuador saw a similar drop for the first measles dose, while in the Philippines coverage fell from 87 percent to 67 percent from 2010 to 2018.

The “reasons for backsliding include complacency, lack of investment in public health, conflict, and in some places lack of trust in vaccines,” the UN said.


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Chicago Police Board president files complaint alleging he was struck 5 times by cops at George Floyd protest

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On Friday, WTTW reported that Ghian Foreman, the president of the Chicago Police Board, has filed a complaint alleging he was beaten in the legs five times by police officers at a protest against the killing of George Floyd last Sunday.

The Chicago Police Board is an independent civilian commission that has power over police disciplinary cases.

"Foreman filed a complaint with the Citizens Office of Police Accountability alleging that he was struck by at least one officer during a protest sparked by the death of George Floyd in the custody of Minneapolis police, said Ephraim Eaddy, a spokesperson for the agency," said the report. "Foreman’s complaint, which identifies the officer Foreman said struck him, is one of 344 complaints of police misconduct filed with COPA between midnight May 29 and 7 a.m. Friday, Eaddy said. The complaint itself is confidential."

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Kayleigh McEnany may have committed voter fraud by claiming parent’s Florida address when living in DC: report

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White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany has carried the flag for President Donald Trump's campaign against mail-in voting, delivering false warnings the process is rife with voter fraud. But McEnany herself may be guilty of the illegal act.

And so may be her boss.

"Kayleigh McEnany was living in Washington, but voted in Florida. Trump used an address he promised Palm Beach officials would not be a residence," HuffPost reports.

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Derek Chauvin accused of illegally voting in Florida — where he was allegedly registered as a Republican

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Former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin has been accused of committing felony voter fraud in Florida.

Dan Helm, a candidate for Supervisor of Elections in Pinellas County, sent a letter to the State Attorney of Orange County outlining the allegations.

"I write to inform you that, Derek Chauvin, the police officer who killed George Floyd in Minnesota, voted in Orange County Floriday in 2016 and 2018 as a registered Republican," Helm wrote to Aramis Ayala.

He said he discovered the information in the voter file.

"While living in Minnesota, working there, paying taxes there, Derek Chauvin cannot claim residency in Orange County. His home, residency and where he intends to live is in Minnesota, not Florida," he charged. "This is a violation of our election laws, specifically Fla. Stat. 104.011 (2)."

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