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Third Round of Polio Vaccination Begins

A Chance to Wipe Out Polio

KYIV, 22 January 2016 – With an EU donation of 900 thousand Euro, UNICEF has procured 4.5 million new Oral Polio Vaccines (OPV), to kick start the third round of polio vaccination in Ukraine. The nationwide vaccination campaign starts 25th January 2016, and targets 4.75 million children aged 2 months to 10 years, according to the Ministry of Health.

‘With all vaccines stock now in the country, there is a sufficient quantity to cover every child in every oblast’, says Giovanna Barberis, UNICEF Representative in Ukraine. ‘Safe and effective vaccines are now available for free, for every child’, she added.

Starting 25th January, every child under 10 years of age must get two drops of OPV to ensure protection from polio. If the child has received two previous vaccinations, an additional third dose must still be given to ensure the immunity against the deadly virus. ‘Receiving a minimum of three consecutive doses of OPV is the only way to boost your child’s immunity against the fatal polio virus’, explains Dr. Dragoslav Popovic, UNICEF medical expert.

The first round of vaccination reached less than 65 per cent coverage. The second, reaching 75 per cent, albeit a slight improvement from the first, remains far below the global standards (WHO standard operating procedures following an outbreak is 95 per cent). ‘This is a great chance to close that gap and eradicate polio in Ukraine’, says Giovanna Barberis, UNICEF Representative in Ukraine. ‘Even if you have missed the first two rounds, you still have a chance,' she affirmed.

Today, polio persists in eight countries worldwide. Ukraine is one. ‘As part of the Global Polio Eradication efforts, we must each play our part,’ says Barberis. Parents have a responsibility to act immediately. Health workers have a responsibility to dispel myths about polio and ensure highest coverage. Given this campaign round includes children under 10, schools will also be important to ensure we reach the 95 percent goal. We call upon everyone to play their part for a polio-free Ukraine. But we must act fast.

***

*The Global Polio Eradication Initiative is a public-private partnership led by national governments and spearheaded by the World Health Organization (WHO), Rotary International, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Its goal is to eradicate polio worldwide.

About UNICEF

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 in Ukraine and its work visit: www.unicef.org/ukraine . Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

For further information, please contact:
Veronika Vashchenko, UNICEF Kyiv, +38 044 254 2439, vvashchenko@unicef.org    

 

 
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