UNICEF, in partnership with the Ministry of Health, launched a campaign to support the delivery of COVID-19 vaccines and routine immunization services in all districts of Iraq
More than 1,300 mobile outreach teams will be supported throughout the country.
Baghdad, 9 March 2022 – UNICEF in partnership with the Ministry of Health have launched a campaign to expand the coverage of COVID-19 vaccines and routine immunization services, involving over 1,300 mobile outreach teams across Iraq.
With the rapid spread of COVID-19 in 2020, the Iraqi Ministry of Health took the initiative to join the COVAX Facility, which is providing COVID-19 vaccines in sufficient number for approximately a quarter of Iraq’s population. In addition, the Ministry of Health signed memoranda of understanding with vaccine manufacturers to procure additional doses of vaccines, to ensure that an even higher proportion of the population can receive these vaccines and that there is no shortage of COVID-19 vaccines in Iraq.
The COVID-19 pandemic, vaccination efforts and associated preventive measures have led to disruption of routine immunization activities, resulting in increased numbers of children vulnerable to vaccine-preventable diseases. These children will also be reached through this campaign.
The campaign includes more than 1,300 outreach teams operating from primary health care centers throughout the country. Each team includes qualified staff conducting awareness raising, COVID-19 vaccination and routine immunization targeting millions of children and households in Iraq.
All Iraqis above the age of 12 are eligible for COVID-19 vaccination, but the priority is to protect those most vulnerable to the disease, including health workers, those aged above 60 years, all people with chronic illness or immunosuppression and certain occupational groups such as teachers and security personnel. The campaign will also identify and vaccinate infants and young children who have missed doses of routine vaccines, reducing the risk of polio, measles and other diseases.
“This large-scale campaign is timely and will allow us to reach unvaccinated individuals and communities with COVID-19 vaccines and children with catch-up doses of routine immunization across the nation. This will reduce the risk that vulnerable unvaccinated individuals will lose their lives due to vaccine-preventable diseases. UNICEF appreciates the support from USAID, ECHO and the Government of Germany and acknowledges the leadership of our partner the Government of Iraq in this effort.” said Sheema SenGupta, UNICEF Representative in Iraq.
Among other measures, community awareness about vaccines and the risks of COVID-19 disease will be raised, encouraging families to follow up their vaccination schedule.
“As part of the continuous efforts of the Ministry of Health to vaccinate the highest possible percentage of the Iraqi people, this vaccination campaign is launched as part of a series of continuous campaigns with the support of UNICEF and number of international agencies. The goal of these campaign is to reach the highest possible proportion of recipients of the vaccine to face the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic. We encourage all Iraqis to receive a full course of a vaccine that is effective against the coronavirus variants. All thanks and appreciation to the staff of the Ministry of Health, UNICEF and all international supporting partners” remarked Dr. Hani Mousa Badr Minister of Health in Iraq.
UNICEF and the Ministry of Health through this campaign are committed to ensuring that all people receive vaccines and immunization as appropriate, especially children, those most vulnerable to COVID-19 including internally displaced and refugee populations.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child; in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.