UAE says TB vaccination coverage at 98 percent

The United Arab Emirates recently announced that its efforts to fight tuberculosis infection have resulted in a 98 percent vaccine coverage rate for its population.

A senior health official made the announcement in Dubai during a speech marking Vaccination week. He also announced that vaccination coverage for the mumps was even higher, according to

"Immunization is estimated to avert between two and three million deaths annually worldwide," Dr. Mahmoud Fikri, the executive director of health policies at the Ministry of Health, said, reports.

Fikri said that the UAE recently added the measles to its list of mandatory vaccinations. Children are now required to be vaccinated against a total of six illnesses - polio, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, measles and tuberculosis.

Vaccination Week, according to Fikri, is a region-wide initiative to promote immunization through a combination of advocacy, education and communication activities.

"It requires collaboration among multiple private, NGOs and governmental sectors such as education, youth, sports, police and culture," Fikri said, according to "The benefits of immunization are increasingly being extended to adolescents and adults, providing protection against life- threatening diseases such as influenza, meningitis and cancers that occur in adulthood."

Fikri said that since 1988, the number of worldwide cases of polio have dropped by up to 99 percent in some endemic areas.