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Philippines, WHO launch mass vaccination campaign

Updated: 2013-11-22 15:45
( Xinhua)

Philippines, WHO launch mass vaccination campaign

A typhoon survivor plays his guitar outside a makeshift shelter among the ruins of a residential neighbourhood that was devastated by super Typhoon Haiyan two weeks ago in Tacloban city, central Philippines November 22, 2013. [Photo/Agencies]

MANILA - The Philippine government and the World Health Organization (WHO) launched on Friday a vaccination campaign for children to prevent the outbreak of measles and polio among survivors of typhoon Haiyan, locally named "Yolanda".

The Department of Health and WHO said they are targeting areas hardest hit by typhoon Haiyan in central Philippines, starting with the evacuation centers in Tacloban city and in Cebu province. Children under five years old will be vaccinated against polio and measles and will be given Vitamin A drops to boost their immune systems.

WHO said the vaccination campaign will be extended to children up to 15 years old, depending on their resources.

Dr. Julie Hall, WHO Representative in the Philippines, said many children in congested areas especially those who have not been vaccinated are at risk of contracting and spreading infectious diseases such as measles.

"Measles can be deadly, especially in young children," Hall said in a statement.

A team of 20 volunteer nurses will be deployed to Tacloban City this weekend to support local health workers.

WHO said it is working with partners for the delivery of vaccines using gas-powered and generator-powered fridges, freezers, vaccine-cases, cold boxes and ice packs for affected areas that have lost power. Hall said this "cold chain" is necessary to keep the vaccines from being spoiled.

Millions were rendered homeless after typhoon Haiyan struck central Philippines on Nov 8. Based on the latest official data, the typhoon killed 4,015 and injured 18,567 others. More than 1, 600 still remain missing almost two weeks after the typhoon ravaged central Philippines.