Vaccines work

On the immunization campaign trail in Syria

Health worker talking to woman with two children in the street
UNICEF/Syria/2022/Antwan Chnkdji
15 June 2022

Vaccinating children is one of most cost-effective ways to protect their lives and futures.

In Syria, half of the primary health care system remains offline. Two out of five sub-districts do not have functional primary health care facilities, forcing families to either delay vaccinations or take long trips if they can afford it. This makes it challenging for some parents, particularly in the remote areas, to follow their children’s routine immunization schedule.

Health worker giving shot to baby carried by woman
UNICEF/Syria/2022/Johnny Shahan

“We were out of the city for three months, my daughter missed some of her vaccines. Once we came back, I approached the centre to vaccinate Layan,” Nagham, Layan's mother said.

Woman standing with two children
UNICEF/Syria/2022/Johnny Shahan

“When I was a baby like Layan, I received many vaccines. Now, she must get the same vaccines to be a big and strong girl like me,” added Limar. She accompanied her little sister and mother, Nagham, to the health centre.

UNICEF Syria, together with partners, works to vaccinate more children across the country.

A baby held by a woman and receiving a vaccine
UNICEF/Syria/2022/Johnny Shahan

“I received an SMS message encouraging parents to immunize their children against diseases, so I came here today to vaccinate my little girl,” said her mother Khatoun.

UNICEF’s activities include securing and distributing vaccines as well as keeping them safely stored through cold chain logistics.

A health worker is taking the vaccine from mobile cold chain
UNICEF/Syria/2022/Antwan Chnkdji

Prior to national immunization campaigns, UNICEF also supports conducting door-to-door visits, setting up informative sessions with families and community leaders, and using educational posters and billboards to raise awareness of upcoming campaigns in communities.

Two health workers in a street
UNICEF/Syria/2022/Antwan Chnkdji

The campaigns are regularly organized, jointly with the Ministry of Health and WHO, to help children catch up with the routine immunization schedule.

A woman is holding a baby.
UNICEF/Syria/2022/Antwan Chnkdji
A baby is receiving vaccine drops.
UNICEF/Syria/2022/Antwan Chnkdji

“I had my baby two weeks ago and I want to keep her safe,” said Maha. She brought her little old daughter, Alaa, to an UNICEF -supported mobile health point to be vaccinated during a national campaign.

In June, the five-day national campaign reached more than 775,000 children, under the age of five, across Syria.

A group of women and children gathering around the health worker.
UNICEF/Syria/2022/Delil Souleiman

The vaccination campaigns and routine immunization efforts are funded by the contributions from the Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (BHA/USAID); Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance; and the Syria Humanitarian Fund.