Progress Toward Regional Measles Elimination - Worldwide, 2000-2020

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2021 Nov 12;70(45):1563-1569. doi: 10.15585/mmwr.mm7045a1.


In 2012, the World Health Assembly endorsed the Global Vaccine Action Plan,* with the objective of eliminating measles in five of the six World Health Organization (WHO) regions by 2020 (1). The Immunization Agenda 2021-2030 (IA2030)§ uses measles incidence as an indicator of the strength of immunization systems. The Measles-Rubella Strategic Framework 2021-2030 and the Measles Outbreaks Strategic Response Plan 2021-2023** are aligned with the IA2030 and highlight robust measles surveillance systems to document immunity gaps, identify root causes of undervaccination, and develop locally tailored solutions to ensure administration of 2 doses of measles-containing vaccine (MCV) to all children. This report describes progress toward World Health Assembly milestones and measles elimination objectives during 2000-2020 and updates a previous report (2). During 2000-2010, estimated MCV first dose (MCV1) coverage increased globally from 72% to 84%, peaked at 86% in 2019, but declined to 84% in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. All countries conducted measles surveillance, although fewer than one third achieved the sensitivity indicator target of ≥2 discarded†† cases per 100,000 population in 2020. Annual reported measles incidence decreased 88% during 2000-2016, from 145 to 18 cases per 1 million population, rebounded to 120 in 2019, before falling to 22 in 2020. During 2000-2020, the annual number of estimated measles deaths decreased 94%, from 1,072,800 to 60,700, averting an estimated 31.7 million measles deaths. To achieve regional measles elimination targets, enhanced efforts are needed to reach all children with 2 MCV doses, implement robust surveillance, and identify and close immunity gaps.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Disease Eradication*
  • Global Health / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Immunization Programs
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Measles / epidemiology
  • Measles / prevention & control*
  • Measles Vaccine / administration & dosage
  • World Health Organization


  • Measles Vaccine