UNICEF supports the measles vaccination campaign for Afghan refugee children in Iran

23 January 2023
UNICEF Iran/2023/Andishehrad

UNICEF, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Medical Education, universities of medical sciences and health services and the Bureau for Aliens and Foreign Immigrants Affairs, supports the supplementary immunisation campaign for under-15-year-old Afghan refugee children.

The campaign, being held from 31 December 2022 to 30 January 2023, aims to increase the vaccination coverage for measles and rubella (MR) diseases among the under 15-years- old refugee population. Also, as part of this campaign, Vitamin A supplement is administered to under-5-year-old Afghan children.

To support this campaign, UNICEF provided 600,000 doses of MR vaccine and syringes to 27 Universities of Medical Sciences and Health Services across the country and collaborated in developing the relevant vaccine administration protocols.

Mohsen Zahrayi, Head of the Office for Vaccine-Preventable Diseases in the Ministry of Health and Medical Education, says that during the recent Afghan refugee influx, many children, especially those under 5, might be infected by measles. According to the MoHME, in 2022, 214 cases of infection with measles were reported in Iran, half of which were non-Iranians.

Globally, the risk of large measles outbreaks was heightened as immunisation coverage dropped during the period of the pandemic and as most countries have relaxed social distancing practices that were implemented during the height of the pandemic. Measles cases have increased by 79 per cent worldwide during the first two months of 2022, compared to the same period in 2021.

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