UNICEF delivers more than 108,000 doses of measles vaccine to Ukraine

02 April 2024
The baby is lying in his mother's arms during a doctor's examination
UNICEF
The baby is lying in his mother's arms during a doctor's examination

Kyiv, 2 April 2024. The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), with support from the Government of Japan and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), has delivered 108,200 doses of measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine to Ukraine, bolstering National Immunization Programme.

“This supply of vaccines is enough to provide one dose each for 100,000 children. Vaccination is the only protection against measles, as there is no cure. Vaccination helps protect your child and prevent the spread of infections, which is particularly important in wartime," says Munir Mammadzade, UNICEF Representative to Ukraine. "Two doses of the MMR vaccine, given at 12-months- and six years-old, provides effective protection. We remind parents on the importance of vaccinating their children on time."

Measles is a dangerous and highly contagious disease that can cause disability or death in children and adults. Up to 90 per cent of unimmunised people will be infected after contact with a sick person. The infection spreads easily when an infected person talks, coughs or sneezes. Anyone who is not vaccinated can get measles.   

Priorix vaccines on the refrigerator shelf in the medical center
UNICEF

In 2023, 55 cases of measles were reported in 13 regions of Ukraine, including 31 children. In times of war, crowding, including in shelters during airstrikes, is an additional risk factor for the spread of measles, making timely immunisation of children and adults against measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases crucial. In the last year, 92.4 percent of one-year olds in Ukraine were vaccinated against measles.

“Vaccination not only protects the vaccinated child but also those who cannot receive vaccinations due to medical contraindications. Schools and other environments where children gather should be safe spaces for all,” says Ihor Kuzin, Deputy Minister, Chief State Sanitary Doctor. “If recommended vaccinations are missed, such as due to relocating to another city, parents are encouraged to visit a vaccination centre or consult with a family doctor to catch up on vaccinations. This is crucial for ensuring each child's individual protection against vaccine-preventable diseases.”

In 2023, UNICEF also procured and delivered 700,000 doses of the MMR vaccine to Ukraine. 

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UNICEF

Background

UNICEF has been working with the World Bank, GAVI and USAID to update and enhance vaccine cold-chain infrastructure in Ukraine. Nearly 6,600 vaccine refrigerators and freezers have been procured and delivered to support effective vaccine storage at about 80% of vaccination points. UNICEF and USAID funding has also procured 36 refrigerator vans for vaccine transportation from regional storage facilities to vaccination points.

In 2023 and early 2024, UNICEF delivered nearly 3 million doses of vaccines (polio, diphtheria-tetanus, measles-mumps-rubella, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), Covid-19, hepatitis A) procured with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the governments of Japan, the Netherlands and France, and the international COVAX initiative. In addition, UNICEF provided nearly 6.2 million syringes for vaccination.

Media contacts

Damian Rance
Chief Advocacy and Communications
UNICEF Ukraine

About UNICEF

UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone. For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org  

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