UNICEF delivers over 35,000 doses of measles vaccine to Ukraine
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KYIV, 31 March 2023 — UNICEF delivered 35,200 doses of combination vaccines against measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) to Ukraine. In April, UNICEF will send additional 657,000 doses to support the National Immunization Programme and catch-up vaccination for those who missed any dose in line with the National vaccination schedule.
The current batch arrived early following the two confirmed cases of measles in Ukraine for supporting the response activities. The vaccine is provided as humanitarian aid, free of charge.
"Right now, there is a risk of another outbreak of one of the world's most contagious infections in Ukraine. The war worsened the situation due to the destroyed medical infrastructure and people crowding in shelters. UNICEF continues supporting the Government of Ukraine in ensuring the necessary vaccines are in supply to protect Ukrainian children", said UNICEF Ukraine Representative Murat Sahin.
Measles is highly contagious and dangerous enough to cause disability or even death. For pregnant women, it can also induce premature labour and low birth weight of a child.
While specific medicines for measles don’t exist, measles is effectively preventable with vaccines. Two doses given at the age of 12 months and 6 years provide lifelong protection. Measles outbreaks are cyclical and occur every 5-6 years due to insufficient levels of routine immunisation. The last outbreak in Ukraine occurred in 2017-2019.
"At a time when parents are doing everything to protect their children from the obvious threats of war, it is also vital to save them from the invisible enemy – infectious diseases," said Ihor Kuzin, Deputy Minister of Health and Chief State Sanitary Doctor of Ukraine. "That is why we are grateful to our international partners for supporting our efforts to implement routine vaccination in Ukraine. We urge parents to be responsible, check their children's immunization status and catch up on missed routine vaccinations."
Together with partners, UNICEF will continue to support Ukraine in immunization against other preventable diseases.