Routine immunization of children crucial during the pandemic

Ministry of Health, EU Delegation to Montenegro, UNICEF and WHO call upon parents to ensure that their children receive routine vaccines while adhering to the #DistanceHandsMask measures

UNICEF Montenegro
a baby
UNICEF Montenegro / Duško Miljanić / 2010
29 April 2021

Vaccines work. The delivery of COVID-19 vaccinations and ensuring that routine immunization of children happens during the pandemic are both critical to public health. For this reason, during this year’s World Immunization Week, the Ministry of Health, the EU Delegation to Montenegro, UNICEF and WHO are calling upon parents to ensure that their children receive routine vaccines while adhering to the #DistanceHandsMask measures.

The Ministry of Health is calling for the vaccination of all children in accordance with the immunization calendar to avoid new health crises due to the outbreak of diseases that could have been fully prevented.

Jelena Borovinic-Bojovic, the Minister of Health of Montenegro

Immunization coverage rates for the first dose of measles, mumps and rubella (MMR1) have decreased in  Montenegro from 90% in 2010 to a staggering 23.88% among children born in 2019 who were supposed to receive their first dose of the measles vaccine during 2020.

The immunization of all children must be done in parallel with the delivery of COVID-19 vaccinations. Vaccines save 2 to 3 million children each year from deadly diseases. Measles vaccinations prevented over 23 million deaths between 2000 and 2018. We all have a collective responsibility to do what is best for our children and society – follow the routine immunizations for the protection of our own and our neighbour’s children.

Juan Santander, UNICEF Montenegro Representative

UNICEF and the EU Delegation to Montenegro are supporting the Ministry of Health to launch a national campaign to urgently increase the MMR immunization coverage rate in Montenegro.

Vaccines save lives. The EU supports Montenegro’s routine immunization efforts to ensure that all children realize their right to grow up healthy and reach their full potential.

Oana-Cristina Popa, EU Ambassador

According to a recent WHO survey, many countries are still reporting disruptions to their routine immunization services due to the pandemic, paving the way for future outbreaks and putting at risk decades of progress.

As a flagship initiative of the European Programme of Work, the European Immunization Agenda 2030 sets a new course to address inequalities in vaccination coverage between and within countries in the Europe region. This is especially important now when immunization coverage rates have been under threat.

Together with the member states, our partners – UNICEF, Gavi and others – we will tackle these challenges and support the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

dr Mina Brajovic, WHO Head of Office in Montenegro

Montenegro’s MMR immunization campaign is part of a two-year health initiative implemented by the Ministry of Health with support from the EU and UNICEF. Its aim is to support the country to deal with the coronavirus pandemic effectively while, at the same time, ensuring that routine immunization happens so that an epidemic of vaccine-preventable diseases does not occur.