Health officials in Syria are rushing to urgently vaccinate 320,000 children in some of the country’s most difficult to access areas, following an outbreak of vaccine induced polio.
Health workers will probably have to coordinate with ISIS and other terrorist groups to carry out the work according to reports.
Unicef’s polio spokesperson in New York said “Our plan is to vaccinate 320,000 children under the age of five. He said said cases of vaccine-derived polio were very rare and that the threat only existed in under-immunised populations
Billionaire Bill Gates, who has said it is his personal mission to eradicate polio, has poured huge sums of money into the effort, and the Gates Foundation is part of the global initiative.
The Independent reports:
It was recently revealed that 17 children had been affected by an outbreak of vaccine-derived polio. One of the cases was in Raqqa, the de facto Syrian capital of Isis, while the remainder were in the Mayadeen district of eastern Syria.
Officials told The Independent the number of youngsters paralysed by the disease had risen to 22 and that a mass vaccination programme was soon to be launched.
“It’s very much a concern that there is a vaccine-derived polio outbreak,” said Rod Curtis, Unicef’s polio spokesperson in New York. “Our plan is to vaccinate 320,000 children under the age of five – including 90,000 in Mayadeen – using our partners on the ground. Not all the children are located in government areas.”