ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia

Nearly 15 million children in Ethiopia have been vaccinated against measles, WHO’s Ethiopia office said in a statement on Monday.

The nationwide campaign which wrapped up this weekend was launched under the leadership of the Ethiopian Health Ministry with support from WHO, UNICEF, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the statement said.

The vaccination campaign, which ran for 10 days, was initially scheduled for April but was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic and resumed in July, it said.

The campaign’s target was 15 million children and it attained 96% coverage (14.4 million), showing that even with an ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, countries can continue to carry out life-saving mass vaccinations, it said.

“By taking the appropriate measures, we can continue to provide essential services while striving to end this pandemic. Millions of children are at risk of vaccine-preventable diseases and waiting for the end of COVID-19 to restart immunization campaigns is a gamble we cannot afford,” it quoted Matshidiso Moeti, WHO regional director for Africa as saying.

Fewer than 10 of the 47 countries in the WHO African Region are on track to achieve the 2020 measles elimination target of cutting new infections to fewer than one per 1 million population, it said.

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