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A new shipment of 392,000 doses of MMR vaccine arrive to Ukraine

18 October 2018

At the request of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine and as part of support to the Government immunization program, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has procured 392,000 doses of Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) vaccine for Ukraine to respond to the continuing measles outbreak in the country. In total, over one million doses of MMR vaccine are currently available in Ukraine.

Over 33,000 people have been infected with measles in Ukraine so far this year. The most affected areas are those with the lowest routine immunization coverage rates, in particular Ivano-Frankivsk, Zakarpattia, and Lviv oblasts.

The Ministry of Health of Ukraine, with the support of key partners, has undertaken large-scale outbreak response measures since 2017, and has been working to stop further spread of the disease and to restore high routine immunization coverage by ensuring the availability of vaccines at all vaccination points, and by raising public awareness of the disease and the importance of protecting children and their families through vaccination.

Measles is one of the most infectious diseases that can affect people of all ages, but preschool and school-age children who have not had recommended measles vaccine are the most at risk. It is recommended that all children are vaccinated on time as they reach the appropriate age for MMR vaccination according to the national routine immunization schedule. Those who missed routine immunization in the past should get catch-up vaccine doses as recommended.

In addition, in view of an increase in the number of measles cases among adults since the beginning of 2018, Ukraine’s Health Ministry initiated measles vaccination of adults in at-risk groups: people living in a common space (military, students), educators and doctors.

In Ukraine, MMR vaccines are provided free of charge to vaccinate all children under the age of 18 and adults in at-risk groups.

The recent shipment included MMR II vaccines manufactured by Merck Vaccines, USA. These vaccines are safe, effective and pre-qualified by the World Health Organization.

Photo provided by UNICEF

Vaccination with the MMR vaccine is the best way to protect against measles. To prevent the renewed accumulation of susceptible individuals and ultimately protect the population from future outbreaks of measles, Ukraine needs to reach and sustain at least 95% routine coverage with the MMR vaccine. It is therefore essential to ensure that every person in Ukraine has equitable access to the benefits of immunization and to build trust in vaccines.

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