20 Million Middle East Children To Get Polio Vaccination

Region's largest-ever consolidated immunization response

  • Share
  • Read Later

The United Nations and World Health Organization announced plans Friday to vaccinate more than 20 million children across the Middle East, in response to a polio outbreak in war-ravaged Syria.

The initiative, which will be the region’s largest-ever anti-polio push and carried out over six months, will specifically target Egypt, Gaza, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey and the West Bank. More than 650,000 children in Syria — including 116,000 in the Deir Ezzor province where the recent outbreak was spotted and confirmed for the first time in 14 years — have been immunized.

Preliminary reports have suggested the highly infectious virus, which can cause irreversible paralysis and puts children under age 5 at the most risk, came from Pakistan where the disease is still endemic.

(MORE: Syria Blame Game On Polio Outbreak)