Lebanon introduces the rotavirus vaccine under its national vaccination program to protect children against severe diarrhoea

17 November 2022
During the introduction of rotavirus vaccine

BEIRUT, 17 November 2022 ­- Lebanon introduced today the rotavirus vaccine to prevent the spread of rotavirus, the most common cause of severe and fatal diarrhoea among infants and young children throughout the world.

Through funding support from the European Union, UNICEF procured 100,000 doses of rotavirus vaccine that will be available free of charge in more than 800 vaccination points at Primary Healthcare Centers and dispensaries to reach all children under 1 year of age in Lebanon. The vaccine is the 11th vaccine to be introduced into the Ministry of Public Health’s national immunization program and will be administered in three oral doses for children at 2, 4 and 6 months of age.

“Health is a right for everyone, and we cannot overlook the right of our children to secure their routine vaccinations without them missing any on time under any circumstances,” said the Minister of Public Health. “Routine vaccinations are among the priorities of primary health care, and we have succeeded through the National Immunization Program to make Lebanon free of polio over the past 19 years, and today, the addition of the rotavirus vaccine to the national immunization calendar contributes to expanding the range of protection that we provide for our children. As a result of the partnership between the Ministry of Health and the Lebanese Pediatric Society, the vaccines of the Ministry of Health are now available and free of charge in the clinics of approximately 160 pediatricians, in addition to primary health care centres and some dispensaries. We also commend the support of the European Union for funding the procurement of the vaccines, along with UNICEF and WHO”.

“Introducing the rotavirus vaccine to Lebanon’s immunization schedule will help save the lives of many children”

Edouard Beigbeder, UNICEF Representative in Lebanon

The Rotavirus vaccine is safe and can be administered simultaneously with other routine infant vaccines. Rotavirus infection is the leading cause of diarrhoea in children under five and it is highly contagious. It poses an exception to typical diarrhoea l disease management rules. While improved access to clean water and better sanitation and hygiene practices are vital to preventing most diarrhoea l diseases, they have done little to disrupt rotavirus infection. The virus may cause severe, dehydrating diarrhoea in young children and, in untreated cases, lead to death.

Alessandra Viezzer, Head of Cooperation at the European Union to Lebanon said: “As the leading donor in the health sector in Lebanon, the European Union has been supporting immunization for all children in Lebanon since 2016. The introduction of the rotavirus vaccine is a necessary step in updating and expanding the National Immunisation Calendar. It will help countless children fight severe diarrhoea and ultimately save lives, while at the same time, supporting delivery of services through the national primary health care system.” 

“Introducing the rotavirus vaccine to Lebanon’s immunization schedule will help save the lives of many children by combating severe diarrhoea and also reduce out-of-pocket expenditure for parents during the economic crisis by reducing the need for hospitalization of children,” said Edouard Beigbeder, UNICEF Representative in Lebanon. “We call all parents and caregivers to vaccinate their children against rotavirus to ensure that all infants are immunized and protected against deadly diseases”.


Media contacts

Blanche Baz
Communication Specialist
United Nations Children’s Fund Lebanon
Maya Outayek
Communication Associate
United Nations Children’s Fund Lebanon


UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone. For more information about UNICEF and its work for children visit www.unicef.org/lebanon/.

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