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Coronavirus forcing parents to skip kids’ vaccinations: UNICEF

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The novel coronavirus pandemic that has forced billions of people across the globe to stay home is making parents skip routine immunizations for their kids, the United Nations children’s agency UNICEF warned Thursday.

The phenomenon is being aggravated by overburdened health services where medical workers are being diverted from giving vaccines to focus on the COVID-19 response.

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Some governments might even have to postpone mass immunization campaigns as a way of slowing the disease’s spread, UNICEF said.

The agency’s Executive Director Henrietta Fore said the requirement for people to stay home and observe social distancing was leading parents to “make the difficult decision to defer routine immunization”.

Of particular concern are impoverished and war-torn countries battling measles, cholera or polio outbreaks, such as Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, the Philippines, Syria and South Sudan.

“At a time like this, these countries can ill-afford to face additional outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases,” Fore said in a statement.

“Medical goods are in short supply and supply chains are under historic strain due to transport disruptions. Flight cancellations and trade restrictions by countries have severely constrained access to essential medicines, including vaccines.”

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Fore added that in the near future, governments may need to postpone preventive mass vaccination campaigns — where people group together to receive inoculations — to ensure these do not contribute to the spread of COVID-19.

UNICEF recommended governments begin rigorous planning now to boost immunisation campaigns for as soon as the coronavirus pandemic is under control.

Afghanistan is one of only three countries, along with Pakistan and Nigeria, where polio remains endemic.

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Even before the coronavirus crisis, Afghanistan and neighbouring Pakistan were struggling to vaccinate kids as local populations viewed inoculation teams with suspicion.

Opposition grew after the CIA organized a fake vaccination drive to help track down Al-Qaeda’s former leader Osama Bin Laden in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad.

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The Taliban last week pledged to cooperate with healthcare workers in combating the coronavirus.


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WATCH: Woman caught on video unleashing racist rant against Vietnamese restaurant owner

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A woman unleashed a racist rant at a business owner in a Kroger parking lot in Houston, Texas, and the incident was captured on video.

The owner of a Vietnamese restaurant identified as "Sammi" told ABC13 that when she went outside her business to investigate a commotion, she encountered the woman.

In the video, the woman, who is pushing a shopping cart, yells, "Get out of our country!" in addition to other profanities.

"You!" the woman yells. "Get out of the United States, you ugly [expletive]."

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2020 Election

Trump’s last-ditch 2020 strategy is based on a perverse fantasy — and it’s scary as hell

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Thursday night, the access journalism team at the Washington Post published a piece declaring that Donald Trump intends to "reopen much of the U.S." in May.

This article was originally published at Salon

"The Trump administration is pushing to reopen much of the country next month," Matt Zapotosky, Josh Dawsey, Jose A. Del Real and William Wan report, noting that Trump, behind "closed doors," has "sought a strategy for resuming business activity by May 1."

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"Taxpayers shouldn't be required to backstop oil and gas companies that were already in trouble prior to the pandemic."

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