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     Home > Justice and Peace >  2013-11-08 15:29:19
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Syria, neighbours to vaccinate 20 million children against polio



November 08, 2013 - More than 20 million children are to be vaccinated in Syria and neighbouring countries against polio to try to stop the spread of the crippling infectious disease following its re-emergence there after 14 years, United Nations agencies said on Friday. The mass vaccination against polio, which can spread rapidly among children, is already under way in the Middle East a week after the region declared a polio emergency, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the UN children fund UNICEF said. Aiming to repeatedly vaccinate about 20 million children in seven countries and territories, it will be the largest-ever consolidated immunisation response in the Middle East. "The polio outbreak in Syria is not just a tragedy for children, it is an urgent alarm - and a crucial opportunity to reach all under-immunized children wherever they are," Peter Crowley, UNICEF's Chief of Polio, said in a statement. WHO spokeswoman Sona Bari said it would take six months of repeated campaigns to reach 22 million children. The vaccination campaign inside Syria would target 1.6 million children with vaccines against polio, measles, mumps and rubella. In Jordan more than 18,800 children under the age of five were vaccinated against polio in a campaign in the past few days targeting all children at Za'atari camp, and a nationwide campaign is under way to reach 3.5 million people with polio, measles and rubella. In Iraq, a vaccination campaign has started in the west of the country, with another campaign planned in the Kurdistan Region in the coming days. Lebanon's nationwide campaign begins this week and Turkey and Egypt by mid-November, the WHO said.




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