(MENAFN- Jordan Times) AMMAN - Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, vaccination coverage in Jordan has witnessed a decrease, according to the Health Ministry.
Vaccination coverage among the target population in 2020 was 76 per cent, increasing from 84 per cent to 86 per cent in 2021, and in 2022, the coverage increased to 91 per cent, Secretary-General of the Ministry of Health for Primary Health Care and Epidemiology Raed Shboul said on Saturday, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.
Speaking about the measles and rubella (MR) vaccine, which is to be made available to target groups in Jordan, including children as young as 9 months and all students in schools, kindergartens and preschools, Shboul said that the Ministry of Health in Jordan currently aims to reach a 97 per cent coverage to reduce the disease's impact.
A total of 163 measles cases were reported in Jordan, he said, highlighting the alarming surge.
He noted that to combat measles among children, Jordan is using the MR vaccine in its immunisation campaigns, in accordance with recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, Technical Committee on Vaccines, which includes academics and doctors from private hospitals, the Royal Medical Services, universities, and representatives from the Jordan Food and Drug Administration (JFDA) and the National Centre for Epidemic Control.
The MR vaccine has been used safely and effectively since 2013, with no reported side effects among the four million doses administered that year, he said.
“The MR vaccine is used in 141 countries and is only introduced in Jordan after evaluation by WHO, UNICEF and the JFDA,” the official said.
Stressing that all vaccines are available to all children residing in Jordan regardless of their nationality, the official noted that the vaccination is free of charge and follows a regular schedule across Jordan.
The ministry, in August, launched a multi-phased vaccination campaign, with the first phase, aiming to immunise 120,000 persons, has so far covered 95 per cent of the target population.
Both the WHO and UNICEF that support Jordan's national immunisation campaign, underscored the safety and effectiveness of the MR vaccine in protecting children from deadly diseases and reducing their transmission.
The two organisations expressed concerns that Jordan has seen a worrying decline in measles vaccination rates since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, as about 112,000 children under five missed their routine doses, representing more than 60 per cent of this age group.
This“alarming” occurrence resulted in 163 reported cases of measles across seven governorates in April.
Jamila Raibi, WHO Representative in Jordan, underlined the seriousness of measles, and noted that it is an easily preventable but highly contagious and potentially fatal disease.
She stressed the urgency of achieving vaccination coverage of at least 95 per cent or higher with two doses“to protect our societies”.
Philippe Duamelle, UNICEF Representative in Jordan, stressed the importance of restoring community immunity in Jordan through routine immunisation and catch-up campaigns in protecting children and reducing the strain on the public health system during an outbreak.
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