The United Nations announced that the first round of a vaccination campaign following a polio outbreak in eastern Syria has been completed.
The UNICEF on Friday said it had teamed up with the World Health Organization and local partners to vaccinate 355,000 children under 5 years of age in the provinces of Deir Ezzor and Raqqa.
“Our priority now is to achieve the highest possible polio immunization coverage to stop the circulation of virus,” the relief agency said.
This is the second polio outbreak to hit Syria since the start of the conflict in 2011. In April, dozens of cases of polio were recorded in Deir Ezzor prompting appeals to the United Nations to send vaccines to prevent the spread of the disease.
UNICEF pointed out that polio immunization rates have plummeted through the conflict, with the rates falling from over 80 percent in 2011, to just over 40 percent now. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department + Agencies)