Measles immunization campaign targets over 620,000 young people in Tashkent
TASHKENT, 15 December 2006 - More than 620,000 young people in Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, are to be vaccinated against measles and rubella in a mass immunization campaign that starts today and runs until 25 December. The young people, aged 10 to 29 will be vaccinated free of charge, regardless of their previous immunization status. The campaign is being carried out by Ministry of Health of Uzbekistan, in collaboration with UNICEF and USAID.
“Immunization is essential for people, and especially children, to realize their right to the highest attainable standard of health. And it is also an affordable means of protecting whole communities against measles,” said UNICEF Representative in Uzbekistan, Reza Hossaini.
The combined measles-rubella vaccine also protects against congenital rubella syndrome.
Young people will be vaccinated at health facilities, schools, colleges, universities and institutes, mahallas, bazaars and other fixed sites in the city. More than a 1,000 medical workers are being mobilized for the campaign, following training by the Ministry of Health.
The 750,000 doses of measles-rubella vaccine needed for Tashkent City, together with syringes, were purchased and donated by USAID. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recruited a team of local epidemiologists to monitor the campaign for safety and effectiveness.
The economic arguments for investing in measles are compelling. Of all health interventions, measles immunization carries the highest health return for the money spent, saving more lives per unit cost. The measles-rubella vaccine, which has been available for more than 30 years, cost around 800 uzbek soums (0.65 USD) per dose, including safe injection equipment.
Tursunova Dilorom Alimovna,
UNICEF Office in Uzbekistan, Tel.: 133 95 12, 132 08 61
Shukhrat Rakhimjanov, Officer, Health Program,
Umud Hudaikulov, Assistant Project Officer, Expanded Programme on Immunization,