July 17, 2023, 16:15

At least 260 thousand children in Ukraine need to be protected from measles – a nationwide vaccination program has been launched in Ukraine

Today, it is necessary to ensure at least 260 thousand children are protected against measles. It is planned to vaccinate children against the disease during the summer so that by September 1 of this year, they will be protected. Currently, the country has everything it needs for a successful vaccination campaign.

Ihor Kuzin, Deputy Minister of Health of Ukraine, Chief State Sanitary Doctor, made the relevant announcement during a briefing at the Media Center Ukraine – Ukrinform. 

He noted in particular that the Ministry of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are constantly conducting risk assessments. And now, among vaccine-preventable diseases, measles poses the greatest risk. The rapid transmission of acute infection is to blame. According to the chief sanitary doctor, 9 out of 10 unvaccinated children are at risk of getting infected after being in contact with infected individuals.

“There was rather a massive measles outbreak Ukraine’s Ministry of Health has been leading the response to since 2017 for three years. In total, almost 115,000 children were exposed to measles during this outbreak. And amid it started in 2017 at the level of several thousand cases in western Ukraine. It then spread to all other regions and really took over quite a wide swath of the population. The war and the restrictions imposed during the coronavirus really contributed to some families not applying or were missing routine national vaccination schedules,” he said.

According to Ihor Kuzin, since the beginning of the year, the necessary verification of data on the number of children to be vaccinated against measles to avoid an outbreak has been carried out. Thus, he noted, it is at least 260 thousand.

“Since the beginning of the year, we have been verifying this data. There are at least 260 thousand children who need to be vaccinated. And until then, there is a potential risk of a ‘full-blown’ measles outbreak. Therefore, the Government needs to ensure that during the summer period, until September 1 this year, before children go to school, they receive their protection and receive the vaccine. And now we have absolutely everything to make this campaign successful,” he explained.

The Chief State Sanitary Doctor noted that Ukraine is secured with sufficient European vaccine procurement, refrigeration equipment for vaccination has been updated, and several thousand units of refrigeration equipment have been handed into each region to all primary healthcare centers. At the oblast level, the teams are ready for this start.

“Last week, the final preparatory activities took place, the vaccine was delivered to all regions, the vaccination infrastructure was prepared, and the necessary final training activities were held, so from today, tomorrow, you can go and get vaccinated,” said Ihor Kuzin.

At the same time, during the discussion of the start of the measles vaccination campaign, Andrii Pashynnyi, Head of the Immunization Department of the Public Health Center, noted that according to available data, the number of people aged 2 to 17 who skipped the first or second vaccine shot, or both doses of the measles vaccine is almost 216 thousand people.

“According to the preliminary verification of children aged 2 to 17, the total number of people who skipped the first or second vaccine shot, or both doses, is almost 216 thousand people. And as part of the vaccination campaign, 262 thousand doses are planned,” he explained.

He also noted that the campaign will ensure that vaccines are delivered at all available vaccination service points. 

“These include permanent vaccination service points in healthcare facilities, the primary healthcare center. These are also the vaccination centers that were involved in covid vaccination distribution, as well as mobile teams. Particular attention is paid to mobile teams since mobile vaccination sites will be set up for vaccination in educational institutions and vaccination of internally displaced persons. As for IDPs, we have data from each region on the number of people we have. And regarding each region, we have certain measures to vaccinate these people. As for the permanent vaccination sites, there are almost 2600 vaccination service points. As for the mobile teams, 318 mobile teams have been formed, and 72 vaccination centers have been established,” added Andrii Pashynny

Read more: https://mediacenter.org.ua/news