The United Nations Children’s Fund, or UNICEF, and the World Health Organization, or the WHO, have aided in the process to make the rotavirus vaccine available to humanitarian crises locations worldwide.
Rotavirus is the most severe diarrhoeal disease in children under the age of five, and is responsible for up to 200,000 child deaths each year. In fact, children in refugee camps and displaced communities are among the most vulnerable to catch such diseases. This is a result of high population density, poor hygiene and sanitation, and higher rates of malnutrition.
The agreement between UNICEF, the WHO, and Humanitarian Mechanism, who facilitates access to the vaccine, is working in countries affected by emergencies and refugee crises to stabilize supply and prices.
“We know that it is critical for us to expand the reach and breadth of immunization coverage among communities affected by humanitarian crises to meet our goal of immunization equity in the next decade,” said Robin Nandy of UNICEF.
Additional committments from manufacturers are sought to make more vaccines available through the Mechanism, including typhoid, human papillomavirus, and pneumococcal vaccines.
Since 2017, nearly one million doses of pneumoccoccal vaccine, which prevents childhood pneumonia, have been approved for use in 12 countries including Algeria, Central African Republic, Chat, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Greece, Kenya, Lebanon, Niger, Nigeria, South Sudan, and Syria.
These vaccines are helping some of the hardest to reach communities of children around the world, and it is important that hey continue the work of preventing, treating, and eliminating these life-threatening, yet easily preventable diseases.