Ukraine receives close to 700,000 doses of polio vaccine from UNICEF

27 September 2022
One-year-old Myron is held by his mother, Hanna, while being vaccinated against polio at a medical centre in Uzhgorod, Ukraine.

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has delivered 600,000 doses of oral polio vaccine (OPV) and 99,720 doses of inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) to Ukraine, thanks to financial assistance from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Japanese Government.

Ukraine received the vaccines free of charge as humanitarian aid.

"Around a year ago, we recorded an outbreak of poliomyelitis in Ukraine, so we undertook additional immunisation activities," said Deputy Minister of Health, Chief State Sanitary Doctor Ihor Kuzin. "Currently, the threat of polio spreading is here to stay and has even worsened because of the war. That's why our priority is to ensure vaccination for all children who require it. I am grateful to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) for systematic assistance to our country and its future." – says Deputy Minister of Health and Chief State Sanitary Doctor Ihor Kuzin.

"The Ukrainian health care system is facing incredible challenges,” said Murat Sahin, UNICEF Representative in Ukraine. “Together with our partners, we are working to ensure that, despite the war, children and adults in Ukraine receive timely protection from infectious diseases. The polio outbreak in the country is ongoing – if your child missed their polio vaccination, please make sure to catch up as soon as possible.”

Polio is a highly contagious disease caused by the polio virus that affects the nervous system and can lead to paralysis or even death. Paralysis can be lifelong, and many polio victims become disabled as a result of the disease. Five to ten per cent of paralysed people die due to damage to the respiratory muscles.

In the absolute majority of cases, carriers of poliomyelitis, who spread it, cannot be detected due to the absence of any signs of the disease. Polio is passed from child to child and can infect them without any symptoms until it paralyses one unvaccinated child.

All unvaccinated people can get polio – both adults and children.

There is no cure for polio, but it can be effectively prevented by vaccination.

There are two types of safe and effective vaccines:

1. Inactivated poliomyelitis vaccine (IPV) – administered by injection.

2. Oral polio vaccine (OPV) – two drops in the mouth.

According to the Ukrainian vaccination schedule, a child receives 6 doses of the polio vaccine – at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 18 months, 6 years, and 14 years.

The first two vaccinations are given with the IPV vaccine (intramuscular injection), and the remaining vaccinations are usually given with the OPV vaccine (drops in the mouth). OPV is a live vaccine that contains live, weakened polio viruses. Thanks to this vaccine, local immunity is also formed in the intestine, which prevents further spread of the virus.

Media contacts

Olha Pryshko
Communications Specialist
UNICEF in Ukraine


UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across more than 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone.

Follow UNICEF Ukraine on  FacebookInstagram Twitter and TikTok.