Protected Together – Routine Childhood Vaccines Work
The Ministry of Health and UNICEF are launching national campaign for routine childhood immunization
Skopje, 26 April 2023: At the immunization point in the health polyclinic “Bukurest”, Deputy Minister of Health Dr Maja Manoleva, UNICEF Representative Patrizia DiGiovanni and National Professional Officer for Immunization, WHO Country Office Goran Kochinski marked the launch of the National campaign for routine childhood vaccines “Protected together – routine childhood vaccines work,“ supported by UNICEF.
The campaign aims to address vaccine hesitancy among parents and caregivers through building trust in vaccine science, reiterating that missing or delaying vaccination puts children at risk of contracting vaccine preventable diseases.
“It is a fact that the COVID-19 pandemic had a negative effect on routine childhood vaccination, both globally and in our country. This year I'm glad to see that trend is changing. Although we have an improvement in national rates for routine childhood vaccines, I want to emphasize that we still have not reached the recommended levels for herd immunity, also indicated in the mandatory immunization programme - 95% at the national and 90% at the local level. That is why we continue to work intensively to address the issue,“ said Deputy Minister of Health Dr Manoleva.
All vaccines for children up to 12 months old, with the exception of the pneumococcal and rotavirus vaccines, introduced in 2019, have reached national coverage of about 84%.
There is also an increase in the national coverage of the MMR vaccine. In 2022 the coverage for the first dose was 70.4%, while this year there is a slight increase to 70.7%. In 2021 the rate for MMR2 was 80.4%, and this year there is significant growth, reaching over 89% national coverage.
A significant increase is also registered in the coverage with the vaccine against HPV, which was 35.5% in 2021, and this year it is over 50%.
“Routine childhood vaccines are proven to be safe and effective and save 2 to 3 million children globally each year from deadly diseases. We urge all parents – do not delay vaccination. Provide your children with the protection that your parents have provided you in the past. In the 21st century we should not consciously endanger the lives of children and put them at risk of diseases that are preventable with vaccines that are proven to be safe and highly effective,” said UNICEF Representative Patrizia DiGiovanni.
In the Ministry of Health national campaign supported by UNICEF health professionals, pediatricians, doctors from vaccination points and gynecologists speak about the dangers of delaying vaccination, as well as the benefits of routine childhood vaccines - the most effective way to protect children’s health.
“It is essential that parents understand the importance of catching their children up on any delayed or missed vaccine doses. At the same time, we must continue to make vaccines easily accessible. In North Macedonia, WHO and all partners, including the European Union, have worked together to identify under-immunized groups and expand equitable access to COVID-19 and routine vaccinations,” said Goran Kochinski, National Professional Officer for Immunization, WHO Country Office in North Macedonia.
An integral part of the campaign is the promotion of the new digital platform E-Health containing a special section dedicated to immunization that serves as a one-stop-shop for trusted information on vaccines. More information about the campaign “Protected together – routine childhood vaccines work” is available here: https://uni.cf/3LckNge
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.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.mk.