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WHO to Launch Major Vaccination Drive

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Health authorities in 112 countries will launch an unprecedented one week vaccination drive in Europe, the Americas and Middle East, the UN’s World Health Organisation said. It is the first time that such immunisation campaigns are being launched simultaneously across separate WHO regions, in an attempt to expand general vaccination coverage and raise awareness of the importance of vaccines. The UN health agency said that some 2.1 million children in the Middle East did not receive a basic jab against diphteria, tetanus and whooping cough last year. In the WHO’s Europe region, which stretches through Russia, Turkey and parts of Central Asia, the campaign will focus on measles and rubella. Declining measles immunisation rates in western Europe have been major cause for concern at the global health agency, jeopardising its target of eliminating the disease from the area this year. Children in affluent countries are largely at risk of measles infection because of skepticism about immunisation or the belief that the disease is not serious because it was largely under control, according to the WHO.

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