UNICEF airlifts nearly 6 million doses of vaccines for children in Yemen amid intensifying violence and import restrictions
SANA’A, 20 Dec 2017 –A UNICEF-chartered plane landed today in Sana’a and delivered nearly 6 million doses of essential vaccines to protect millions of children at risk of preventable diseases, including the current diphtheria outbreak that has reportedly infected over 300 people and killed 35. Most diphtheria cases and deaths are in children.
Nearly 1,000 days since the conflict escalated in Yemen, the country is in the grips of the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, with restrictions on fuel and food imports further complicating emergency response. The restrictions add to the misery of children in Yemen who already face the triple threat of diseases, malnutrition and violence.
“Vaccinating children in Yemen now is critical to protect them from preventable diseases and death. It is vital that vaccines and other lifesaving supplies for children continue to flow into Yemen and across the country unimpeded. They are a lifeline for millions of children”, said Meritxell Relaño, UNICEF Representative in Yemen.
UNICEF reiterates its call on all parties to allow unhindered humanitarian access to all of Yemen’s land, sea and air ports and to facilitate the distribution of lifesaving assistance for children inside the country.
Notes to Editors
The vaccines delivered through Sana’a airport today include:
Tetanus and diphtheria vaccine for 2.7 million children and adults up to the age of 25
Pentavalent vaccine to protect 2.5 million children against whooping Cough, hepatitis B and diphtheria.