WHO launches fourth national Vaccination Week in Syria

News and Press Release
Originally published
View original

27 April 2014, Damascus – The World Health Organization (WHO) and its health partners have launched the fourth World Vaccination Week in Syria which is taking place from 26 April to 1 May 2014.

The 2014 Vaccination Week in Syria aims to immunize over 300 000 children who missed their routine vaccination rounds, in addition to women of reproductive age. The campaign will also promote one of the world's most powerful tools for health: the use of vaccines to protect people of all ages against disease.

Along with UNICEF, WHO is supporting the Ministry of Health and local health authorities in implementing the campaign through 1200 health centres, 30 mobile clinics and health teams across Syria.

The theme of the 2014 World Vaccination Week is “Are you up-to-date?”, and it will seek to address the knowledge gap which sometimes prevents people from getting vaccinated. It also encourages people to vaccinate their children against infectious diseases.

“This year, the focus is to reach all children across the country, especially those who have missed routine vaccination rounds.” said Elizabeth Hoff, WHO Representative to Syria, during a visit to health centre in Rural Damascus. She added that we must make sure that all families are up to date with their vaccination status.

World Vaccination Weeks immunize children not only against polio and measles, but also against diseases such as diphtheria, pneumonia and haemophilus, some of the biggest threats to children under five. In addition, the campaign will immunize women of reproductive age against tetanus.

Before the crisis engulfed Syria in 2011, nearly 91% of children had all their routine vaccinations. By 2012, the vaccination rate had dropped to only 68%.

Since the onset of the polio outbreak in October 2013, WHO, UNICEF, local health authorities and NGO partners have implemented five national polio immunization rounds as part of a strategy to eradicate the disease in Syria. During the most recent campaign over 2.91 million children were vaccinated in government and opposition-controlled areas.

For more information, please contact:

Karim Shukr
Communications Officer
WHO Country Office - Syria
Direct: +963 11 3315053