Kyiv
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Over 700 cases of measles attributable to lack of vaccination registered in Ukraine – Healthcare Ministry, international organizations

Kyiv, June 15, 2017.

Representatives of the Healthcare Ministry and of the international organizations emphasize the need for vaccination against measles, report availability of the vaccines.

As of today a total of 735 measles cases have been registered in Ukraine. Such outbreaks are taking place each five to six years. The reason is the low level of vaccination and the strong transmission potential. The highest number of cases was registered in Ivano-Frankivsk region – 392, 298 of which include children, and 273 cases in Odesa region, that include 187 children. It was reported by Oksana Syvak, Deputy Healthcare Minister on European Integration. “One needs to get immunized twice against measles: at 12 months and at six years. Those who have received two dozes of the vaccine against measles, have 98-99 per cent protection. Seventy-six per cent of the patients with measles in Ivano-Frankivsk region had been immunized just once, 86 had not been immunized at all. No details are available on the 182 patients with measles. In Odesa region, out of the 273 patients with measles 92,3 per cent had not been immunized, while 5,9 per cent had been immunized just once. If you think that in other countries people do not get sick with measles for no reason, you’re wrong – they have been simply vaccinated. In order to overcome the disease the percentage of the immunized children needs to reach at least 95 per cent. Last year only 46 per cent of children in Ukraine were immunized,” Oksana Syvak said.

Over the three months of 2017 in Ukraine 24 per cent of children were immunized against measles, 21,8 per cent were re-immunized. Should the pace keep at this level, the measles immunization coverage will have reach 95 per cent by December. “Ukraine is now fully provided with the MMR vaccine (protecting against measles, mumps, and rubella). In December we received over one million dozes of the MMR vaccine, procured through UNICEF. We have also signed an agreement for the 583,000 dozes of the vaccine to be supplied through the summer 2017. They should cover the needs of the children who are to get their first and second immunization as well as those of the children who were not immunized as planned. I call on the parents to take their children to medical clinics and get immunized,” the Deputy Minister emphasized.

Apart from Ukraine the outbreaks of measles have been registered also in Italy and Romania. The reason is the same: parents do not realize the importance of immunization. However in Ukraine the situation is the worst. “Your children are now going to all kinds of summer schools. When they are in groups, together, and if one of them has the virus, they get infected. If you have been vaccinated you don’t get anything. Parents should take the responsibility and make sure that all school children get the treatment and the tools available to prevent the disease,” emphasized Marthe Everard, head of the World Health Organization in Ukraine.

“Children can die because of measles, and there are such cases. There are vaccines available in the country. On behalf of the Ministry of Health UNICEF has procured and brought into the country around 1,3 million dozes of MMR in 2016. There are 600,000 dozes for 2017 being procured. At the moment we know that there are 900,000 dozes of MMR available in the country. The availability is sufficient,” added Giovanna Barberis, UNICEF Representative in Ukraine.

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