UNICEF CALLS FOR PARENTS TO CHECK CHILDREN’S IMMUNIZATION RECORDS AND SCHEDULE ANY NECESSARY CATCH-UP DOSES
European Immunization Week, 21-27 April 2008
SKOPJE – The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) joined the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) today, at the Health Center Skopje (policlinic Bitpazar) to officially launch the 2008 European Immunization Week – an event aimed to boost the awareness and highlight the importance of immunization.
“Immunization is the most effective ways to protect children from vaccine-preventable diseases, such as tuberculosis, diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus, polio, mumps, measles, hepatitis B,” said Ms Hongwei Gao, UNICEF Representative. “Furthermore, all vaccines included in the recommended list are free of charge regardless of whether the child is insured or not, so there is no reason that any child in the country should not be vaccinated.”
According to results of a household survey carried out by the State Statistical Office in cooperation with UNICEF, disparities in immunization coverage based on ethnical background still exist, and they particularly affect the Roma community.
Children are not protected if they only receive one does of a recommended vaccines - the entire schedule must be completed. Parents are encouraged to check their children’s immunization records against the list of recommend vaccinations and if one or more doses have been missed, they should have catch-up doses.”
Among other outreach activities organized by the Ministry of Health, during the week, a brochure with the details of the recommended vaccinations will be distributed in newspapers throughout the country. Electronic copies can be downloaded from the UNICEF website www.unicef.org/macedonia
In efforts to increase the success of immunization programs in the county, during 2008, UNICEF will also support the Ministry of Health to strengthen immunization surveillance systems, improve long-term planning and financing of immunization programs, upgrade outdated “cold chain” equipment, and, further strengthen the capacity of immunization health workers through continued professional education.
For additional information please contact:
Suzie Pappas Capovska, Communications Officer, UNICEF Skopje (02) 3231-150,