2 rounds of polio immunization in Tajikistan for children under 15

Dushanbe

Children under 15 are targeted for the third round of the polio immunization campaign in Tajikistan to be held on 1-5 June 2010. A supplementary fourth round on 15-19 June will boost the immunity of all children under 15. Progressive monitoring and investigation of the polio outbreak in the country by the Ministry of Health with the support of WHO, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and international partners have concluded that the epidemiological conditions apply to expand the age group for polio vaccination to children under 15.

“We are very glad that UNICEF and WHO are supporting the Ministry in immunizing all children under the age of 15 in Tajikistan”, said Dr. Nusratullo Salimov, Minister of Health of the Republic of Tajikistan. “Although polio in most cases affects children under 6, the situation on the ground shows that children aged 6-15 are also facing a high risk of polio infection.”

“We now have additional vaccine to immunize all children under 15 years of age during two expanded polio immunization rounds on 1-5 and 15-19 June”,  adds Dr. Santino Severoni, Head of the WHO Country Office in Tajikistan. “As children under 6 are still the group most at risk and primarily transmitting the polio virus, it is essential to offer the vaccine to older children following full immunization of children under 6”.

“UNICEF has procured almost 6.4 million additional doses of oral polio vaccine (OPV) to vaccinate each child under 15 in Tajikistan”, concludes Mr. Ayadil Saparbekov, Chief of Health Nutrition at UNICEF Tajikistan. “UNICEF only procures polio vaccines recommended by WHO, which have contributed to reducing the incidence of wild poliovirus by more than 99% around the world”. This is the second shipment of polio vaccine to Tajikistan, following the delivery of almost four million doses of OPV on 27 April 2010.

During the National Immunization Days on 1-5 and 15-19 June, children under 15 can be vaccinated free of charge at immunization points located in hospitals, local health centres and schools plus other ad hoc dedicated areas.

Results from the second round report that more than 1.1 million children, or 99.2 per cent of children under six, have been immunized. Preliminary observations indicate that there is a decrease in the number of reported cases as a consequence of the first rounds of the immunization campaign.

For more information, please contact:

Ministry of Health of the Republic of Tajikistan:
Ms. Fatima Goibova, Press Officer
Tel.: +992 (44) 600 60 02 (office), +992 (918) 21 46 46 (mob.)
Email: presscenter_mz@mail.ru

World Health Organization in Tajikistan:
Ms. Tahmina Alimamedova, Communication Assistant
Tel.: +992 (907) 78 01 19
Email: tahmina.who@tajnet.com

UNICEF in Tajikistan:
Mr. Alexander Sodiqov, Communication Officer
Tel.: +992 (918) 31 00 57
Email: asodiqov@unicef.org