UNICEF expresses concern about access to routine vaccinations for children in Middle East and North Africa

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has expressed concern about the difficult conditions that millions of children in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) are facing if they do not receive their regular schedule of vaccines against many deadly diseases and called for vaccinations to continue with added coronavirus protocols.

In a statement released on Sunday, UNICEF said that as healthcare workers devote their efforts to addressing the coronavirus pandemic, nearly 10 million children under the age of five are at risk of not receiving the polio vaccine, and nearly 4.5 million children under the age of 15 in the Middle East and North Africa are at risk of not getting a measles vaccine.

However, despite the outbreak of Coronavirus, routine vaccination of children continues in the MENA region with strict measures in place to prevent transmission of the coronavirus.

“It’s critical to vaccinate every child against deadly diseases, including polio, measles, diphtheria, and hepatitis,” said Ted Chaiban, UNICEF’s Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

The statement noted that since the beginning of this year, despite challenges and restrictions on movement and the closure of borders and airspace in most countries of the region, UNICEF has been able to bring 17 million doses of vaccines to the MENA region.

More shipments of vaccines and life-saving supplies are being prepared and processed, according to the statement.