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350 thousand doses of diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus vaccine delivered to Ukraine for routine vaccinations in 2024

26 January 2024
104

Ukraine has received 350 thousand doses of diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus (DPT) vaccine for routine vaccinations in 2024 from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).  The Fund purchased them at the request of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine at the expense of the Government of Japan. The vaccines will be distributed to medical institutions in all regions of the country.

DPT vaccine provides effective protection against three dangerous diseases. Diphtheria affects the heart, nervous system, and kidneys. Tetanus affects the nervous system, with a mortality rate of 70%. Pertussis is easily transmitted to children and adults. It causes a severe and uncontrollable cough, and in infants, it can cause life-threatening breathing difficulties (apnea).

“Pertussis, diphtheria, and tetanus can have serious consequences for children’s health, especially in times of war, when access to medical care may be difficult or temporarily limited. The Ministry of Health, in cooperation with international partners, managed to ensure the uninterrupted availability of vaccines for routine vaccination at the level of each oblast last year, and this work continues. The supply of DPT vaccines from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is part of the country’s need for 2024. That is why parents need to check the vaccination status of their children and, in case of moving or missing a vaccination, to contact the nearest outpatient clinic and adjust the vaccination schedule,” said Deputy Minister, Chief State Sanitary Doctor Ihor Kuzin.

“War can lead to a greater spread of infections due to massive displacement and disruption of health services, especially with regard to the preventive vaccination program. Children need to be protected from vaccine-preventable diseases, so UNICEF continues to procure and deliver vaccines for routine immunizations to support Ukraine. At the same time, parents should take responsibility for vaccinating their children according to the vaccination schedule and not put it off until later. If a vaccination has been missed, it is necessary to take the opportunity to catch up on the missed dose at the earliest opportunity to protect children’s health,” said Munir Mammadzade, UNICEF Representative in Ukraine.

 

In the first 11 months of 2023, 77.3% of children under one year of age in Ukraine were vaccinated against diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus. Vaccination against diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus is included in the Vaccination Schedule and is free of charge. According to the national vaccination schedule, the DPT vaccine is administered at 2, 4, 6, and 18 months of age, followed by revaccination with the DT (diphtheria-tetanus) vaccine at 6 years of age, and the DPT-M vaccine (tetanus and diphtheria with reduced antigen content, used for adults) at 16 years of age.

It should be recalled that free vaccinations against 10 infectious diseases are included in the preventive vaccination schedule. In particular, a child must be vaccinated against diseases such as tuberculosis, hepatitis B, measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, and Hib infection.

 

Vaccines for routine vaccination are purchased mainly from the state budget. Some vaccines are supplied by international partners at the request of the state in case of increased demand or emergencies. The storage and delivery of the vaccine received from international partners as humanitarian aid to the regions is supported by the SAFEMed project, USAID Ukraine — Safe and Affordable Medicines for Ukrainians.