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UN: Ukraine has lowest routine immunization in the world

One of the reasons are shortages of vaccine supplies in recent years.

UN: Ukraine has lowest routine immunization in the world
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Ukraine currently has the lowest routine immunization rates in the world, the site says UN representative.

According to the latest data from the Ministry of Health, as of August 2016, only 30% of children in Ukraine were fully immunized against measles, only 10%, against hepatitis B, and only 3% of against diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus.

Experts say one reason for the critically low level of immunization in Ukraine interruptions in vaccine supplies in recent years.

"To address these shortages, at the request of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine, UNICEF has procured a number of vaccines to protect children against dangerous vaccine-preventable diseases including BCG (vaccine against tuberculosis), MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) Hepatitis B, DTP (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis), Td (tetanus and diphtheria vaccine for adults), DT (paediatric diphtheria and tetanus vaccine), rabies, and bOPV (bivalent oral polio vaccine)," the ministry said in a statement.

All these vaccines have now been delivered to Ukraine and are available in health facilities across the country.

Current vaccine supplies are sufficient to cover 4-6 months of routine immunization needs in Ukraine. The 2016 agreement between UNICEF and the Ministry of Health for procurement of vaccines and antiretroviral drugs is in the process of being finalized.

"We are urging the Ministry of Health and all health workers in Ukraine to bring the routine immunization back on track while working towards significant increase of vaccine coverage," said Giovanna Barberis, UNICEF Ukraine Representative.

In her words, governments of the United States of America and Canada have been supporting Ukraine in restoring its routine immunization program and responding to the polio outbreak in 2015-2016. Specifically, the Government of the United States of America has supported an extensive capacity development program for health workers and funded an information campaign for parents, which is currently being rolled out. The Government of Canada has supported the strengthening of vaccine cold chain in all regions of Ukraine in addition to supplying the country with the polio vaccine last year.

"The US Government provided 1 million USD in support of UNICEF's polio response in Ukraine in 2015 and 800,000 USD for immunization awareness this year. It is important that parents know to bring their children in for vaccination", said Marie Yovanovitch, US Ambassador to Ukraine.

In turn, Roman Waschuk, Ambassador of Canada to Ukraine called on Ukrainian parents to vaccinate their children to protect their lives and health

"The level of vaccination in Ukraine must reach the European level. With the help of our international partners, we have established a supply of quality vaccines in Ukraine and work to restore the routine vaccination. We are urging health professionals and parents to vaccinate their children to protect their lives and health, "said Dr Ulana Suprun, Acting Minister of Health of Ukraine.

The poorly realized transition to the international procurement of medicines, Ukraine experienced a shortage of a number of life-saving vaccines. International organizations saw that most of the vaccines they buy are not certified in Ukraine, and the certification process is protracted. The problem was first solved by direct interventions and later regulations have been adopted to accelerate vaccine certification.

In August, the Ministry of Health reported a progress with vaccine supplies.

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