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UNICEF Supports Mass Vaccination Campaigns in Syria and Surrounding Countries amid Measles Outbreaks

NEW YORK (April 30, 2013) – UNICEF and partners have stepped up vaccination campaigns in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey amid a number of measles outbreaks in a region where millions of people affected by the Syrian crisis need humanitarian assistance.

“With large population movements and the breakdown of regular health services in Syria, additional precautions are required to ensure that children are protected against killer diseases like measles,” said Mahendra Sheth, UNICEF Regional Health Advisor. “Immunization is one of the most cost-effective tools we have available.”

Since the beginning of the crisis more than two years ago, more than 1.4 million Syrian refugees have fled to neighboring Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Turkey and Egypt. As many as 8,000 Syrians are fleeing the country daily.

In addition, some 4.25 million people have been displaced within Syria, nearly half of them children. Many live in cramped and unsanitary conditions where disease can spread easily. The on-going conflict has seriously damaged the health system, including the national routine immunization program.

Since December 2012, about 332 measles cases have been reported in the Domiz refugee camp in northern Iraq. In Lebanon, some 300 measles cases have been reported by the Ministry of Health since January, while there are 133 confirmed cases of the disease in Syria. In Jordan, at least five cases have been identified among Syrian refugees in the densely populated Za’atari refugee camp. Meanwhile, in Turkey, there have been some 3,000 to 4,000 reported measles cases in the past year, including 300 among Syrian refugees.

UNICEF, working with the Ministries of Health, the World Health Organization (WHO) and other partners, has scaled up vaccination campaigns to help ensure that all children are protected against disease. In Syria, some 550,000 children were vaccinated recently as part of a national campaign supported by UNICEF and the WHO that is targeting 2.5 million children. In Lebanon, 462,000 Syrian, Lebanese and Palestinian children have been vaccinated this year. In Jordan, a mass vaccination campaign at Za’atari camp has immunized 60,000 refugees against measles, and a national vaccination campaign will begin shortly.

Meanwhile, in Iraq’s Domiz camp, some 19,300 refugees were vaccinated with the support of UNICEF. In Turkey, the Ministry of Health has stepped up immunizations in eight provinces where most of the approximately 292,000 Syrian refugees are concentrated.

How to Help

For more information or to make a tax-deductible contribution to UNICEF’s relief efforts, please contact the U.S. Fund for UNICEF:

Website: www.unicefusa.org/syria
Toll free: 1-800-FOR-KIDS

Text: SYRIA to 864233 to donate $10
Mail: 125 Maiden Lane, 10th Floor, New York, NY 10038

As with any emergency, in the event that donations exceed anticipated needs, the U.S. Fund will redirect any excess funds to children in greatest need.


The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) works in 190 countries and territories to save and improve children’s lives, providing health care and immunizations, clean water and sanitation, nutrition, education, emergency relief and more. The U.S. Fund for UNICEF supports UNICEF's work through fundraising, advocacy and education in the United States. Together, we are working toward the day when ZERO children die from preventable causes and every child has a safe and healthy childhood. For more information, visit www.unicefusa.org.

For additional information, please contact:

Susannah Masur, U.S. Fund for UNICEF, 212.880.9146, smasur@unicefusa.org
Kiní Schoop, U.S. Fund for UNICEF, 212.922.2634, kschoop@unicefusa.org

*A one-time donation of $10.00 will be added to your mobile phone bill or deducted from your prepaid balance. Donor must be age 18+ and all donations must be authorized by the account holder (e.g. parents). By texting YES, the user agrees to the terms and conditions. All charges are billed by and payable to your mobile service provider. Service is available on most carriers. Donations are collected for the benefit of the Unicef by the Mobile Giving Foundation and subject to the terms found at www.hmgf.org/t. Message & Data Rates May Apply. You can unsubscribe at any time by texting STOP to short code 864233; text HELP to 864233 for help. Privacy Policy


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