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Georgia fights polio, measles as part of European Immunization Week

By Shorena Labadze
Monday, April 21
Georgia is launching a vaccination campaign which it hopes will reach over a million people, as part of the World Health Organization’s European Immunization Week from April 21–27.

Georgian health workers have already wrapped up one immunization drive.

“Last week we conducted a so-called ‘cleaning operation’ in different regions of Georgia, including Kvemo Kartli, Marneuli and Tsalka. We vaccinated people against polio,” said the director of the Georgian National Centre of Disease Control, Paata Imnadze.

Imnadze said that an immunization campaign against measles is planned for September. State health workers will inoculate young people aged 6 to 28 free of charge.

According to the Georgian National Center of Disease Control (NCDD), the inoculation campaign will reach about 1.1 million people.

But Imnadze pointed out that most children are inoculated as infants. He said it is rare for a Georgian child to die for want of vaccines.

“Though there were two times when a vaccination was late,” he said, “and the results turned out to be fatal: two children died of diphtheria.”

During the weeklong immunization campaign, roundtables, seminars and exhibitions will be staged across Europe.

In Georgia, the Health Ministry and the NCDD are planning events with the support of the United Nation’s Children’s Fund.

Officials will travel to Georgia’s rural regions to spread the message of immunization. Half a million booklets on the importance of immunizations will be distributed to maternity wards.

According to the NCDD, this is the second year Georgia has participated in the Europe-wide immunization campaign.

Costs for the vaccinations are covered by international organizations and the Health Ministry.